Friday, 13 December 2013
We had a toilet at the bottom of the garden and a tin bath that hung on the wall outside until it was time to fill it up and put it in front of the fire.
My parents pulled us out of that situation by hard work.
My father worked his way up a corporate ladder through the late 60's right up until he retired in 1990. He started with Woolworths on the shop floor stacking shelves and gradually got promotion after promotion until he was in charge of south east England. He made his way through a few supermarkets, like Fine Fare, finally becoming a senior manager for the south east of England for Bejam/ Iceland.
He was always sought out at dinner dances and corporate events by up and coming managers and assistants who would sit and talk to him and listen to his advice.
Sadly, my Father passed away 11 years ago this year on November 3rd. My Father was a LEADER!
I remember hearing about a school of parenting that was all about 'children being seen and not heard' and parents telling their kids to do something 'because I say so!'
My parents were not like that. My friends parents were not like that.
Isn't it amazing how many bosses ARE like that?
Being 'bossy' is not an attribute that I have ever admired.
The term, the Boss, has always conjured up images of a corner office with a secretary sitting outside who you have to either sidetrack, confuse, occupy, kill or marry to get past to the Boss.
I started as a Saturday boy at HMV records. 18 months later I was the youngest store manager at 18 years old. I continued climbing corporate ladders and one day I was the Sales and Marketing Director in the Cable TV industry for Cable London and I was also the national sales trainer for Telewest.
TIP 1: Get out of your office
When I was given an office on the third floor of a massive building off of Tottenham Court Road in London I knew I had to do something about it.
The LAST thing I wanted to do was fall into the trap of corporate culture and lose sight of what the public needed, and lose the ear of the man and woman in the street, Our customers, and listen to Marketing people instead. My Father was always out and talking to people, staff, working a room or networking long before it was called networking. He taught me.
We had a great Marketing team but they had never cold called, sold anything, walked the streets in the snow and rain, knocked on a door and spoken to complete strangers to sell our product.
I was hardly ever in my office. I had a computer, and a phone.
I would walk into one of our offices that were dotted around London and just pitch up there for the day, grab an empty desk and work.
It was a nightmare for my P.A. Alexa, but she was brilliant at knowing what calls to put through and what to divert or take a message for. She was my right arm and I still keep in touch with her today.
The thing is, if you are not out there, visible, talking to your people, out in the field and leading them you cannot stay in touch with the ever changing realities faced by your business.
I cannot impress upon people the importance of remaining 'In Touch' with the public.
Tip 2: Meetings
Sitting in the boardroom listening to complex and detailed analysis and reports that have been collated by people who get their feedback from the front line is not the same, and cannot ever compare with the experience of being there to see and hear it first hand.
I HATED boardroom meetings. I soon discovered that BOREDroom meetings were what they should be called. People would get too comfortable in a boardroom. Those relaxing chairs, the air conditioning...Zzzzzzzzz
Two weeks later I had all the chairs removed from the boardroom and the boardroom table raised by two feet so that you had to stand at it, like standing at a bar. It was amazing! The meetings went from one hour minimum to 15 minutes maximum. Productivity soared and endless banter stopped.
Tip 3: Your people have ideas too.
By listening to people, I got a very good insight into what they thought about the company and what issues they had and in fact, that started me off on one major radical communication shift with the employees. It was simple and very effective. Each office had a suggestion box. I had installed another box. It was for salespeople to anonymously raise a concern, be it a business process or an issue with the product. BUT, there was a major difference. NONE of these concerns would be read unless the person filled out the back of the slip of paper. They had to come up with a solution too. One of the best ways to make your people think and grow is to ask them to come up with a solution to the problem they bring you.
Tip 4: Don't be a boss.
I now work mainly from home, or from the hammock in the garden. I travel around and run presentations and seminars all over Europe. I don't ask people to do things I wouldn't do myself. It is rare that I speak to salespeople who have a challenge I haven't overcome or work in an industry that I have not had experience of.
I saw a movie on TV the other day of a battle and the generals were miles behind the front line and sending messages to the troops, sending them into battle. This is very similar to the way companies are run today. Bosses sit far removed from the front line and send memos or emails to the troops.
A Leader is a very different animal to a Boss.
A bad Boss is no better than a bad schoolteacher, pouring his opinions into children's heads in a 'my way or no way' style.
Tip 5: Don't hold a meeting if you can GO to the meeting
Whenever I had a meeting with people during my Corporate years I always went to THEIR office rather than invite them to mine. It wasn't that I was anti-social, far from it. The reason was simple. I could never get people to leave my office. They always wanted to talk about this, about that, all manner of stuff. I was very busy, and I was sure they should have been too. I always went to their office and spoke with them. That way, I could leave at any time I wanted to. As soon as I had said what I needed to, when a point had been discussed and dealt with, I was off. Meetings have a tendency to drag on if not controlled.
My mentor, Hal Stamford, told me that he always arrived 5 minutes late for meetings. If it could start without him, he needn't be there.
I am not an educator. I am a teacher.
Educators take something simple and make it difficult. Teachers take anything and make it simple so that EVERYONE understands. Teachers put stuff on the bottom shelf.
Great Leaders, like Great Teachers, do the opposite to Bosses. They draw opinions and ideas out of their students or associates. In doing so, you make people think for themselves and when they see you take their ideas on board they feel included, part of the team, they grow and they feel their opinions count sometimes.
You see, soon, someone will say, 'OK, you're the boss'.
Just reply, 'Hey, we are a team. I may be in a leadership position, but I want you to tell me what YOU would do if you were in my place?'
It makes them feel that they are part of change, part of the company and part of the future. It makes them feel included. It makes them feel that their ideas and opinions count. It makes them feel valued by you.
And that's what Leadership is all about.
Monday, 9 December 2013
ONLY in England's sleepy (read dozy) idyllic and picturesque green and pleasant land can salespeople, real estate salespeople in particular, get away with such under performance.
|Not much business done here, I bet|
I see lots of examples of stupidity....like signs like this on the right...
It isn't difficult to spot these things, they are everywhere...
Even people behaving in a way that makes you want to bang their head against the wall...
|Does she think it's an exercise bike?|
"You can't mend Stupid!"
I have to give a special mention to a few people who work in an industry that I have trained salespeople in....an industry that we all have a need for at some point. Unfortunately, it isn't a great mention but then, it was never going to be, as I am basing my comments on the experiences I have had for the last 2 months in and around Tunbridge Wells in East Sussex, in England.
Estate Agents, Realtors, call them what you want...the ones here are terrible. I don't know, I cannot tell, if their incompetency is natural, or they have been trained to be mediocre. Either way, they would be dead in a minute in a busy professional agency in London, New York, Chicago, you name it...
I am in a very fortunate position of being able to buy a property for cash. I don't say that to impress you, I say it to impress upon you that this is a very serious position for ANY Real Estate agent because I have worked my Ass off for many years to be in this position and I KNOW from my past history that I am the ideal buyer.
1. I don't need a mortgage
2. I can move very fast
3. I don't need to sell my current property to purchase another.
4. I am paying CASH.
All four of those statements should, SHOULD, translate immediately in the mind of the Salesperson as 'I am going to get paid VERY quickly!'
You see, I sold a couple of rental properties I had owned over the years and I am looking at buying a fairly substantial property for CASH. I am a real estate salespersons dream!
Now I know that all of you real, genuine, fully trained or naturally gifted salespeople reading this will think, 'Cash? That is KING! Wow, I would jump over anything to get a piece of that action...'
Yep, so would I.
Do you know who isn't?
Yep, you are right.
The Real Estate agents in Sussex. Sleepy towns, sleepy salespeople.
I saw a house for sale. I got the details. I turn up to view. No estate agent. No seller at home. Eventually the estate agent turns up, but without the keys. He believes they are under a flower pot on the driveway. He calls the seller who tells him the keys are under a mat in the side entrance lobby.
Before we enter he says with a smile, 'One thing I need to tell you is that the seller isn't including the garage or the lower gardens. They intend to keep those and apply for planning permission.'
'Are they nuts?' I ask.
'I understand what you mean' he replies.
'Anyone buying this property would naturally want all of it and not just part of it that has been carved out of the original boundaries. They will not get planning permission because of the close proximity to Ashdown Forest which has a preservation order on it and even if they DID get to the first stage of permissions it would be opposed by everyone around here, not least the new owner of this property who would not want anything built on land at the bottom of their gardens. Nor would they want a piece of land left to rot or slide into disrepair because the owners can't be bothered any more. It's all or nothing.'
'I take your points on board' he replied.
'Why isn't that mentioned on the details?' I asked him.
'Why isn't what mentioned?' He asked me, amazed.
'What I just mentioned to YOU!'
'I don't know, I will look into it.'
He told me that he had called the sellers and left a message. a day went by and I called him, only to hear he had not heard back and was waiting. Waiting? Do these people WANT to sell? 'Do YOU want to sell this property?' I asked him, 'get on the phone and chase them and get some sort of answer please.' I am still waiting after three days.
No preparation, no quality information.
These are the same agents who arranged a viewing at a farm last Saturday for me and when I got there I was met by a teenager who works at the weekends and had never been to the property before and knew nothing about it. A frantic phone call to her office brought someone else who HAD knowledge of the place over in 15min. Did I need to make that happen? Was it MY responsibility, as the potential buyer, to make that happen? NO! But if I hadn't, it would not have happened.
I have seen an immaculate property with stables and a two floored building in the grounds which would make an ideal office and training centre. To me the property is ideal. I made an offer a little under the asking price because there is some work to be done inside the property and I value the place a little less than the asking price.
No one, I think, should EVER pay ticket price, always haggle.
I spent ages there, looking the place over and made an offer with the stipulations that it was a cash purchase, No chain, I don't need to sell, I want to complete quickly.
Next day I get a call from the agent telling me that another potential buyer has offered the same amount as me but it is dependent upon them securing a mortgage. I asked why they were telling me because that is a dead offer compared to my cash one. They then asked me to give them a letter from my bank to confirm I have the funds before they could present it to the seller.
I can't tell you the exact words I used in my reply for obvious reasons but I made it clear that on the many occasions I had bought a house in the past that relied on either mortgage or the sale of an existing property NOBODY asked me to prove I had a mortgage or a buyer. Why do I need to prove I have the cash?
She couldn't answer that.
Agents in this part of England are so laid back they are horizontal!
They don't chase the seller, they don't call you to let you know what's going on, they give you details about properties but withhold facts that could make it a 'no thanks' before you have viewed.
They commit EVERY SINGLE sales crime there is to commit. If I was in London, New York or any large city, I would have been dealt with and helped and would have been sitting in a new home by now, or near as damn it.
They have no drive, no nerve, no skills and above all, they give salespeople a bad name!
Friday, 29 November 2013
In that sort of office, there are no bad ideas.
And NO ONE is afraid to say anything, ask anything come up with an idea for fear of being laughed at. Even ideas that we find will not work more often than not have some element of a great idea that can be used somewhere else.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Firewalking as a metaphor for overcoming your fears has really been done to death.
Back in 1997 I was running sales training workshops that culminated in a board break. I learnt that at Speakers International. I was working as the National Sales Trainer for Telewest.
|1997 Boardbreak session|
for Cable London
I needed a new metaphor and having worked with a few people in the Firewalking Industry, which was relatively new and unique at the time, in the UK at least, I decided to get my certification to hold Firewalking events. This not only entailed training for two weeks with Tolly Burkan outside of San Francisco, but I also needed to arrange a £10m insurance policy for the company in the event that buildings burnt down. There is NO personal insurance for anyone walking on fire. It is entered into freely and of your own choice. Indemnity and waiver forms take care of the personal 'insurance' aspect.
Firewalking and Glasswalking were the main areas of our business. It was fun but what was the concept? Walking over 'red hot coals' as a way of fearbusting! How?
Simply put, the methodology was, if you can walk on fire or broken glass, WHAT ELSE CAN YOU ACHIEVE?
There is no mystical magic.
Many companies use a 'touchy-feely' approach falling just short of dancing naked around the fire smacking each other up the butt with a tambourine while singing 'circle of life'.
We were not 'touchy feely'...we were 'smacky punchy' in as much as we convinced people that they were in control (which is true) and there is a strategy for walking on fire. We convince people they CAN do this. We don't 'Pray to the fire!!' We kick the fire's butt.
It is all to do with state of mind and physics.
|Image Copyright David Moore|
You are actually walking on burnt wood, not coals. Its Pine. The optimum heat is around 1300 degrees but most companies have people walking on ash, especially if 40 other people have walked on it prior to you. Usually a line of fire either side of the 'firebed' gives the impression that its hotter than it is. We didn't....We went for the full on maximum temperature burn, like walking on molten lava.
Its also about contact time. If you have taken a jacket potato out of the oven and switched it from hand to hand then you wont burn yourself. Same with firewalking. Your contact time with the 'firebed' is so minimal that you cannot be burnt. If you walk at a steady speed, six steps is enough to get you over and you will have done it(with some companies you only need three - check youtube, I have seen firebeds of only 6ft!! Our firebeds were 3ft wide and 20ft long).
Pine is the wood of choice. This is a great generator of heat but not a conductor of heat. Imagine a cake in an oven. After its been in there for a time and you open the oven door you will get a blast of hot air (not unusual in this industry). If you put your hand in and touch the cake: no problem. Touch the oven walls: no hand left. Basically, what you are walking on during a firewalk is like walking on a 20ft long cake. Generating heat but not a conductor.
Lasting benefits...an empowering belief that you can achieve ANYTHING if you don't question the firewalk experience itself! Here's a case in point...
I asked a group of car salesmen once what they considered were the benefits of walking on fire when they came off the firebed and were back in the training room. They all told me the same thing.
"We are gonna sell a ton of cars now!"
"Great," I said.... "How?"
Each one of them got a glazed look on their faces and stayed that way. Then they spent ages justifying how Firewalking will help them shift those old rust buckets and sleds that had been on the forecourt for ages. They couldn't justify it.
I gave them motivational, attitudinal, influence, inner game and Sales Training. THAT worked!!!
In the old days, in the 80s/90s, it was new and unusual. Tolly Burkan and Anthony Robbins made it well known and then everyone jumped on the bandwagon. Now its old and not unusual. If you ask a group of 40 people about it, at least 30 of them will have heard of it and 10 or 12 will have done it.
Its mystery has gone. A simple search on the internet will explain the mechanics of it.
So would I do it if I was in your position and looking for a way of Breaking Through or Empowering myself? No. Its all a bit of fun. You can raise money for charity doing it though...and we did.
Glasswalking is the same. It sounds scary, it sounds terrifying but shouldn't. Again, physics and common sense come into play.
If you want to lie on a bed of nails you can. If you want to lie on a bed of ONE nail, then that would be very foolish. Same with Glasswalking. If you tread on a piece of broken glass while barefoot you will cut your foot. A Glasswalk on the other hand is performed on a bed of a thousand or so broken bottles.
Yes they are very sharp shards of broken glass but it's a glass bed at least two inches deep so anything under your foot compresses into whats below and around it. No problem. It sounds great when the glass breaks and cracks under your feet but it also cushions your feet. If you feel anything under your foot that you don't like the feel of...lift your foot and put it somewhere else.
When you are involved in the fire and glass walking industry for as long as I was you believe it is the cure for everything and the best motivator. When you have worked outside of the firewalk and glasswalk industry for a while, you realise that you have to move on from firewalking...
Thanks to everyone that came to my 1000th walk on fire last night at midnight. It was the 3000th firewalk I have trained. I doubt I will do it again...it just doesn't fit the new business model.
THE LEGACY and ACHIEVEMENTS:
Company: 3000 total Firewalks
Personal: 1000 Personal walk demonstrations
Travel: 9 Countries have been visited for Firewalking events
Audience: Over 100 different companies Over 200 Charities
Vehicles: 18 Vans/ lorries used...3 crashed and written off.
Largest walk: Business - 880 people. Charity - 627 people.
Best event: Glasgow. Underground train system closed, helicopters circling, TV/Radio, Traffic at a standstill, 160 walkers, over 1000 spectators.
Worst event: Snowstorm up a mountain in Lake District/ 135 degrees Fahrenheit heat in Doha, Persian Gulf.
Famous people: 63
Most memorable walk: Leading a man who had been blind since birth over the firebed in Dublin
Regret: Having to turn down a last minute request to hold a firewalk in Chicago for the Oprah Winfrey Network
Team figures: 22 members of the team over the years
Raison d'etra: £1.3m raised for charitable causes around the world
Most important fact: No Injuries
Another important fact: It was always a TEAM...thank you!
Monday, 25 November 2013
Monday, 18 November 2013
Questions are the key to everything.
Ask a great question, you’ll get a great answer. Something you can work with.
Ask a rubbish question, and you’ll get the answer you deserve.
This is a basic lesson for all door to door salespeople.
ENGAGE BRAIN BEFORE PUTTING MOUTH INTO GEAR!
I was standing in the dining room with some friends one day and as I walked out to the hallway there was a knock at the door. When I opened it there was a very presentable middle aged man from a local double glazing/ replacement window company who really should have known better!
“I’m not selling anything.” He said.
What a start! Pull yourself up from that one!
“I happen to be in the area and I notice that you have quite new windows. Are you looking to have any more fitted?”
“So you are selling double-glazing?” I asked. No point in telling him I had just completed 6 months training three of the Double Glazing companies in the area in how to sell their products more successfully....
“I could give you a quote on some windows. In fact we have an offer on right now that would be hard to beat.” He smiled; unaware that he had exposed his opening statement as a lie. Who buys from liars? (I know, but not obvious liars!)
“How much did these windows cost?” he asked.
I told him it was quite a while ago that they were installed and that I would have to check. When I came back out I told him it was the windows at front and back of the house and a security door that had come to £11,000.
He then went into, “we could have done it for less, we have special offers, what a shame…” mode.
I asked him to measure up and quote me, as I was curious. This he did and after much tapping on his calculator he looked very sheepish and apologetic and said, "Well, we could have done the same job for £7000!” and produced the calculator with a flourish to prove his point.
“Great!” I said, “I’ll take it. I live over the road. The house is identical.”
I don’t know if you have ever seen, in a cartoon, a characters face change colour like water or sand draining out of a glass but this guy did the same thing. Then he did the motorboat impression.
It took a few seconds but he finally said, “But, I thought you lived here?”
“Why did you think that?” I asked him. “I just opened the door. Shall we go?”
After a few minor adjustments the final bill was £7650. I wonder what it would have been if he had known ‘The Power of a Question’?
Rule one of door to door selling:
“Good morning Sir, are you the homeowner?”....QUALIFY!
Thursday, 7 November 2013
IS YOUR BELIEF A REALITY?
Here is a frightening example:
You trip over when you are five years old and cut your knee and your mother says, 'Don't cry; crying is bad," so you don't cry. Then you have a fall while skiing when you are 17 and you break your leg but you keep a stiff upper lip and you don't cry because crying is bad. Then when you are 24 you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, and you really thought that they were 'the one' and you STILL don't cry.
The more you repress your feelings the more your consciousness shuts down. You become barely alive. You act like a zombie. You function mechanically and get a reputation as 'a bit of a cold fish'.
The reality is that as you function mechanically more and more, in some cases, you become successful at it. Here's a reality check: Mechanical success is not any more satisfying than failure.
I took my psychology training years ago and therapy has always been concerned with the way people are run, or how they function, by what was rather than what is and how to free people from their past. That never sat comfortably with me. I know hundreds of people who trained just like me and never questioned it.
There are 2 reasons they didn't question it:
1. FEAR! As in: 'Don't make waves....if you question it they will flunk you.'
2. Cut the end of the bone off the Leg of Lamb!
What do I mean by that?
Think about it.
That's right: It has ALWAYS been done that way, so there must be a good reason for it.
How does HPT (Human Potential Transformation) differ from Therapy? Therapy is concerned with curing people of an 'illness' whereas HPT offers people an experience of themselves, and the ability to design a future.
It is evident from my travels and studies, and from the Transformational Change work I have done in the last two years which, I admit, has become more extreme and direct, that Belief Systems are, by and large, a myth.
Belief Systems are created by knowledge or data without experience.
If you experience something, it is real for you.
If you communicate it to somebody, it is real for them because you are expressing your experience.
If they tell it to someone else, it's a lie. It is merely a belief without the component of experience.
A belief is a very powerful thing. You can kill or you can cure with one. I have earned my living for many years training people to believe in themselves, which is good. You CAN believe in yourself because you have the experience of yourself, you are your own reality. I can prove to you, from my beliefs, that what I think and see is true.
I ask people what they expect to get out of the training program and the list can be very diverse. Some say they want to get to know themselves, some say they want to make better decisions, have more self confidence, be more decisive, fall in love, be more open, sell more product, be a better leader or manager....
What they ALL have in common is a set of expectations!
They truly believe that their happiness is dependant on more love, money, power, sex, self confidence, etc. Each has a belief system that relates satisfaction to something they are striving for.
The REALITY is that their happiness is a function of accepting what is, and make it separate from what was and what is to come.
Belief is a structure which can contain very little information in terms of making it useful in your consciousness or well-being.
HPT works on Observation and not Belief. Observation has nothing to do with the senses, perceptions or belief systems. It only deals with direct experience...REALITY.
One of the core HPT Observations is that Life can be considered to be three foot long, and the first two feet eleven inches are about the material aspects of life (food,clothing and shelter) and what's known as 'psychological needs'. You need someone to love you and someone you can love back. You need self esteem, recognition and respect from others.
After people fill their needs they start to look what it MEANS to fill their needs. They start to realize that there is no true satisfaction in just filling your needs and they look beyond that. And THAT is the last inch. THAT is what HPT is all about.
It is the last inch, that has been cut off the bone again and again. That Inch is the life changer.
That last inch is where we discover TRANSFORMATION.
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
If you want a high performing business you need to recruit and retain high performing people. It is a well-known fact that one great person can outperform 100 good people. Can you imagine the amount of change in a company if just one of the leaders from #HRockstars was recruited by an average business?
In both instances the business world was shocked at the honesty. I would assume the shareholders had a ‘moment’ too. Wow! If some leaders could just fake authenticity they would be happy but, there IS no faking it. With Domino’s it’s a consumable but it was only a recipe issue, the quality is not in question, nobody was poisoned, nobody had their health compromised.
With Ratners it WAS purely a quality issue, the goods were not worth the money. Domino’s merely agreed with/confirmed what people had been saying. Ratner admitted something nobody knew for certain. Domino’s continues…Ratners went down the tube.
Authenticity is not an easy subject to tackle and wrestle to the ground. One needs to step outside of conventional thought on authenticity. It takes a lot of courage to discuss authenticity/inauthenticity as it lifts the lid on things we may keep hidden, knowingly or unknowingly. Taking part in this chat will certainly broaden our awareness of ourselves, as a Leader and as a person.
A superficial description of authentic is being real, genuine, the “real deal”, honest. Would you be as honest as Ratners or Domino’s? If your business made a monumental mistake, it’s all very well admitting this to your people but would you admit it to the world, your clients or SKYNEWS? How far does authenticity go before we have to make a stand and be, to all intents and purposes, Inauthentic because the outcome may determine that we cannot be authentic in that instance?
The definition I use of Authenticity is: Being and acting consistent with who you hold yourself out to be for others, and who you hold yourself out to be for yourself.
The central definition is ‘who you hold yourself out to be’. It is NOT your personality, not your thoughts, not your feelings and not social protocols…it is more a DECLARATION that you make, a stand you take on yourself, a commitment to a set of values.
Bill George, Harvard Business School Professor of Leadership and author said:
“After years of studying leaders and their traits, I believe that Leadership begins and ends with authenticity.”
The cold hard truth is that because of certain situations, with certain people, in some ways and at certain times we can all be Inauthentic. Because we avoid at all costs confronting our inauthenticity’s, we are consistently inauthentic about being inauthentic. Is it possible for a person to determine when they are being genuine?
Above all else, Authenticity is CENTRAL to leadership and to being a leader.
Are you authentic all the time? Even when NO ONE is watching?
Monday, 4 November 2013
Time for a remedy to this Flu and Sore Throat Nonsense...
A Bloody Mary made with #MustardVodka, Chilli Tomato juice...#ShakenNotStirred
#NotForWimps #HardCore #ThatsHowIRockAndRoll
Answers on a postcard please....
Friday, 25 October 2013
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Is there a difference in Leadership ability or even mindset between a person who has been schooled via a classroom, examinations and a tutor and a person who has learnt through experience?
In short, an epistemological mastery (a from-the-stands mastery) of a subject is the theory, such as theoretical business models in university and college study or role-play in a training room, which leaves one knowing what a leader has to do.
An ontological mastery is a reality version (an on-the-pitch mastery) of a subject, as in absorbing more and more duties in a current employment position, facing challenges, dealing with potential issues until such time everyone else assumes you are in charge or you have grown into the role, which leaves one being in a leadership position.
Do we need to learn to lead or is Leadership something we all have within us that lies dormant until we need to 'take charge' because something needs to be done but nobody will do it until told? Is THAT the moment we step over the line and become a leader. Is that the time we light that leadership fuse? In many cases that is the only time that fuse is lit. Something will tip us over that point and we become a leader.
I do what I do because I saw so many other people coming into the Company I was leading to give management consultancy programs and I would think 'I know more than they do, I can do that, I can teach that'. My tipping point came when I realised that not only did I know more than they did and I could present it better, I wasn't using my knowledge to its fullest extent in the role I had acquired over a number of years. I had gone from salesman to Sales and Marketing Director with a sales team of 600 within two years. I became the national sales trainer for Telewest and then decided to work for ANYONE...taking Leadership to a whole new level.
My belief is that if you have ever got someone to do something for you, or they have done something just because you have asked them to, then you have led. We all lead others in our lives. We have all been led by others too.
Is it possible that one can learn something in theory without the reality of the role. Is learning the theory of Leadership enough to make you a leader that can inspire, transform, motivate others to follow you?
Learning in an ontological format leaves one being a Leader which, in itself, allows for the development of self expression in the role. If you think about what it takes to be the most effective leader you can be, to match the effective leader you hold yourself out to be, it really has to be about you and your natural self expression of who you are.
The important word in that paragraph is 'Natural'.
If you watch Rafa Nadal play Tennis or Lionel Messi play football I don't think for one moment they have to 'remember' how to play, the game is just a natural self-expression. Of course they have technique, skills and ability but it is unconscious competence. Their natural self expression makes them extraordinarily powerful and effective 'players'.
A natural leader can only become 'natural' in the role by being a leader. It is only then can one understand, in the real world, what being a leader is all about.
A Leader needs very high levels of being and action. Certainly if one is to plan a future, it will be based on certain conditions and elements that are in the current time. A target or goal is based upon our being now, when in fact it should be based on our being then.
A persons 'being' and 'action' must be aligned and in unison to make them effective, as a tennis player, a footballer or as a leader. When one is being a leader and exercising leadership skills this occurs through natural self-expression dependant upon how what that person is dealing with as a leader occurs to them. The goal as a leader is: 'how am I going to get what I am dealing with as a leader to occur for me so that my natural self-expression as a leader can deal with it?'
So where do we get our being and action when creating a goal or a target? Mostly we get our being and action from the contents of our brain, which is filled with experiences from our past or current existence and experience. If we stand in the future, which is where our target or goal is situated, what the brain can draw on is imagination and creativity. If we stand in the past we cannot see the pathways that lead to the success. If we stand at the bottom of a mountain and look up, it is difficult to see how we could possibly reach the top. I we stand at the top of the mountain and look down, we will see more than one way to get to where we are.
Standing in and leading from the future reveals a lot more possibilities for realising that future goal or target.
Outstanding leaders never come up with a future and present it to the people they are leading. They find a way to get that future created from the people they are leading.
If you came to me and said, 'Dave, this is the top of the mountain, this is where we are going and we are going to get there...' I have to buy into that. But if I participate with you in deciding which mountain is the top mountain, that doesn't require any buy in from me. Getting there belongs to me as well as you, maybe in a different way, but I am involved. The leader will have had a lot to do with shaping meetings and conversations to enable their team to see and share the vision and decide which mountain is the one to go for.
The leader must be committed to the critical importance that the future really belongs to everyone, not just the leader. Your people have been moved, touched and inspired not only by your input and leadership but by the fact that their contribution made a difference. A combined noteworthy contribution on a shared goal will reap far greater rewards and this only compounds the basis of ontological learning. You have to be part of it to get better. All the theory in the world, all the textbooks in the universe will not make you the leader you are meant to be.
If you balance on a stool in your kitchen you can practice all the strokes and movements of being a swimmer but you will not be a swimmer until you get in the water.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
I have lived a lifestyle most people
It just didn't work in real life.