Posts Tagged 'meaning'

Communities of the Like-Minded.

Here’s an inspiring video on TED. Love Elif and will look for her books.

So many ideas here for Trusted Advisors.

  1. The dangers of surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals. Beware cultural ghettos! I think building diverse networks of relationships improves our thinking, creativity and perspectives. That leads to adding greater value to our clients.
  2. See how compelling someone is when she is talking passionately about something she believes. That’s living purposefully.
  3. I like to think that my little TA workshop somehow helps provide knowledge that takes participants beyond themselves. Any comments?
  4. The more we step outside the world we know, the more we discover about ourselves. That’s living consciously.
  5. Personal stories resonant and in my experience are a massively under-used resource for building trust and influencing others. My experience in coaching others to use personal stories in interviews, suggests that are very powerful. Have the courage to use them.

TED is a great site if you haven’t visited before.



I’m back at my Meisner acting class. Barbara likes to say:

an actor without an opinion is like an athlete without a game plan!

It’s a powerful idea. Actors who have strong opinions have presence. You can’t take your eyes off them! Their scenes are compelling.

Is it a powerful idea in business? An opinion could be a vision, mission, strategy or a value. But opinions sound like they are more personal, less corporate. Personal opinions have a stronger influence on behaviour – in acting, in business and in life.

Should leaders have stronger personal opinions?  Is this what makes them so effective? I often wonder if we are developing  a cohort of senior managers in leadership competency, only to find they don’t have a personal opinion on what leadership means to them. Their leadership understanding and knowledge doesn’t translate into compelling action. I think leadership should start with a strong personal opinion on life.

Perhaps also, it is easier to trust people with strong opinions?  You may not agree with their opinion.  But strong opinions make people more purposeful, have a stronger presence and more predictable in their behaviour.

Strong opinions may be powerful, but they may also be dangerous. It obviously depends on what the opinion is. But more dangerously, opinions start to define how you see and experience the world in ways that reinforce themselves. Always dangerous in a rapidly changing world.

Perhaps we can all have strong opinions that are loosely held? Is that possible?

Above average?

As humans we have an enormous capacity for self delusion. Psychologists tell us that the average person thinks they are above average in looks, intelligence, honesty, generosity, and most other human attributes. We think we’re special!

Some delusion is useful. It gives us confidence. But sometimes it is fatal. Effective leaders confront the reality of a situation with evidence and logic. Without making it personal. I think they do it by:

  • engaging openly with those around them.
  • leaving a space between ego and opinion (‘there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in’ – Leonard Cohen).
  • understanding where to look for the evidence of success/failure.
  • fronting up to critical conversations.
  • the courage to look reality in the face.

Confronting reality is the fifth and final aspect of my evolving Achievership framework. It looks like this:

  1. Assure self with purpose.
  2. Create relevance with a specific mission.
  3. Engage the right people.
  4. Create momentum in pursuit of the mission.
  5. Confront reality and adjust course accordingly.

For my own film project, I found I got stuck at (4) and have had to go back to (2) and (3) to move forward.

Where are you at with your Achievership?

Knowing Self and having something to say.

I’ve been thinking about leadership over the last few weeks and trying to distill my many readings and experiences into something of a framework. I’ve come up with a 5 part framework which I’m road-testing with myself and clients. I’m interested in your thoughts.

Part I is Knowing Self. It is, I believe, the fundamental core of leadership. It’s sufficient self awareness to be able to identify what’s important to you and the world around you. This may mean that something inspires you to want to change something in your world. If you’re inspired to change something, you have something to say. And, have the potential to be a leader. Without it, you won’t be a leader – in the sense of someone who leads others to make a positive difference.

I enjoyed reading “Why should anyone want to be lead by you?” (Goffey & Jones) recently. Their ideas resonated strongly with my own. That leadership is personal and that good leaders skillfully show people who they really are. Again, one idea in particular affirmed some of the work I have been doing with leaders recently. Helping them understand who they are by exploring their biography. The stories that have stood out in their life and illuminate  what’s important to them. Perhaps we all need to start writing our own biography.

Speaking of which, I’ve began reading a few biographies. Currently reading one on Mohammed Ali. On one level it’s about a very talented athlete, and on another level, its about a true world leader finding his voice. And then losing it!

So, perhaps we all been to find our voice soon. It doesn’t last forever.

Caring less

Confession time.

A week ago I wrote about the challenge of communicating so people “get me”. So that people get my meaning, not just hear what I’m saying. Of course, it’s easier when I’m clear about what I really mean in the first place.  And getting clear for me, is often about interacting with others. Meaning has a way of evolving through interaction over time.

But, I have to confess that I don’t just want people to “get me”.

I want people to “agree with me”!  And that’s a big problem. 

As I grow older, I think I’m only just learning to care less about the outcome of my communication. And just focus on what I mean. And how I can communicate that.

If I care less about the outcome, I’m more open to exploring my meaning when others have different points of view.  I get clearer on what I mean, and hopefully others do too!


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