Category Archives: Visionary Leadership
We had high hopes for 2020 this past January.
There was no way any of us could have predicted the dramatic events for the first 5 months. Global pandemic. Racial murders. Rioting and looting. Worldwide economic turmoil.
This past week’s senseless murder of a black citizen at the hands of a white officer, and the resulting violent protests while not only grievous, can only teach us one truth.
You can only change the world by changing you.
Much of my writing has been geared towards inward directed leadership, with the realization that if you want to change the world, it starts with the person on the inside. Unless an individual determines in their heart to change, to respect and treat all people with value and to focus their efforts on changing the person on the inside, then no real lasting pivots can ever result.
It is up to you – and me – each of us individually to make the change we desire.
We can change the attitudes of our employees when we treat them right. We can change the course of a toxic leader when we leave their company.
We can change the perception of tribalism by showing respect and empathy to others who are different. We can make that other person feel comfortable by validating their voice and giving them value as a fellow human being.
We can vote for our elected leaders. We can shut off the biased news media and not feed into social media trolls. We can also find the truth in our news sources and determine to study what’s true.
We can respond in righteous anger and make positive change by doing no harm, or we can join in the needless destruction of property of those who are innocent because our anger justifies it.
We can choose not to farm out our individual responsibilities to someone else and take ownership for our lives.
We can work towards changing our lateral relationships towards others. We can also work towards changing our vertical relationship towards heaven.
But it has to start with you. I know because it starts with me. I can’t change you, and neither can you change me. But if we both show an example of change together we can multiply our efforts.
I saw two quotes on social media since George Floyd’s murder last week that unfortunately blame the problems in our world towards forces remote and larger than us. No disrespect to those that wrote them, but it gives a feeling of hopelessness and that the system is against us.
Society manifests what leadership tolerates.
The system is not broken it was built this way.
Great leaders, and great people, take responsibility for their world, so I’ve inverted these saying to reflect this thinking on how you can change the world around you.
Leadership tolerates what society manifests.
The system is not built this way it was broken.
The greatest changes in world history have not been from the top down, but common people choosing to change their response. And if we choose so, we can do the same.
Examine yourself and your motives. Closely. What makes you willingly disrespect and devalue another human being needs to change.
Change can only start at the top if leaders at the top change. Most of us are not at the top, but are closer to the foundation of the right type of change – respectful, thoughtful and mutually beneficial – that the world can build upon.
The greatest hope in our world is that we all have the ability to change. We simply must choose to do so. Even if it means sacrificing our selfish ambitions, status and possibly friends. All great change in ourselves is rewarded at some level far beyond what we gave up to attain it.
And it starts with you.
Last month Peter Barron Stark, an executive coach on San Diego, tweeted about this leader who had a question about “this vision thing”.
Recently an #executive asked me “Is this vision thing overrated?” What do you think? Do you think that #vision is overrated? #leadership https://t.co/FlF6agmKAr— Peter Barron Stark (@peterbstark) April 1, 2019
It brought up some thoughts as to why some leaders don’t really get “that vision thing”.
They don’t see past the “action-results” dynamic. As Stark iterated, vision drives behaviors whether they’re positive, status quo based or negative. Many leaders get stuck in the thinking that results are the by-product of actions, so actions must be driven. That creates results, but many of them are mixed, some positive, some status quo and some negative. Leaders need to back up a step to create a vision that drives the actions towards positive results.
Some don’t truly understand what drives human behavior. Not employee behavior, but human behavior. People, especially the younger generations of Millennials and iGen. They want the vision to much of what they do, not a “do as I say” culture. People are connected best with the big picture, buying into what it means for them. It creates connected partners with more passion and at stake in the results versus compelled workers who mostly try to hang on.
Don’t value vision as a priority. It is said that what you do is what is important to you, and what you don’t do, you don’t value. Simply stated, if a leader doesn’t create vision, it’s not important to them. it’s never too late to get a vision clearly established, but to claim there is no time or it’s not important will hamper your overall goals.
Vision challenges their leadership style. Vision will often expose the efforts of leaders whose styles include being solely results-oriented, a micro-manager, top-down-chain-of-command or managing on a need-to-know basis. Vision creates transparency and accountability as everyone is committed to the behaviors that will achieve it.
They’re dominated by short-term thinking. This year’s budget is all that matters with no set up for the overall culture or future goals. That might be good to hit numbers, but it never drives a lasting and sustainable organization. Long-term vision and people development get sacrificed for the results of the fiscal year when this year’s numbers are preeminent.
Understanding vision is to understand human performance. Without vision, people and organizations perish. With it, they not only succeed but thrive.
Much of our leadership is given to ensure our customers have the best CX – customer experience – or if you are in the tech industry, the best UX – user experience.
CX and UX. These symbols of experience are some of the core metrics and focuses that organizations hone in on to ensure they are meeting both differentiation and success in delivering the best experience to their external customers.
Yet how many of us are measuring what our internal customers – your staff – are experiencing?
In other words, how many of your employees are having the best LX – Leadership Experience?
While not in vogue as before, the term internal customers is used purposefully here to leverage what LX means.
Leaders are to provide cultures that deliver and serve their external customers a quality experience. However, many of those same leaders fail to give the same level of culture and service to their internal customers, their employees and teams.
That’s where Leadership Experience (LX) emerges. It’s the intersection of the relationship between employees and leaders, and the process of enhancing that working and cultural relationship within the organization.
This is not a new concept, as there are already LX conferences and courses that have been underway for a couple of years. But to better promote functional and synergistic workplaces, attract better talent, and feed the CX and UX experiences for your customers, LX should be at this time more of a core mindset to adopt to your own circumstances.
Just like the customer or user experiences, the leadership experience you generate is not a cookie-cutter plug-and-play process. It’s defined by the behaviors, skills, and relationships that comprise your teams as well as meet the needs, not only for improving morale and performance, but for strengthening a culture that becomes healthy, beneficial to all, and successful in its goals.
A great LX is not just a blanket program or one-size fits all culture. It is made up of the balanced blend of your cultural leadership approach to meet the needs of the organization as a whole as well as being able to meet every individuals’ needs as well. Think of a hotel that has a service culture that meets the needs of their guests but allows for individual needs to be met because of a particular guests schedule, accommodations, accessibility, dietary needs, and so on. Their CX is what each guest perceives it to be. Your LX is what each of your people perceives it to be as well.
We can look around today and see the poor LX that many workplaces have – pro sports teams, businesses, municipal departments, non-profit organizations, and even political organizations. Just a casual perusal of many of these mentioned gives cause to ponder what a great LX can do for any of those organizations. We can all imagine examples of these entities and how they could be transformed with a better leadership experience.
Yet it starts with you and me, where we are, and the sphere we influence in our current roles.
How can you provide the best LX in your world, right now, today?
Let’s ponder what your organization’s LX journey will be, and where it can impact in how others experience your leadership.