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John Maxwell Team

John Maxwell Team Certified Member

Priscilla Archangel is a John Maxwell Team Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker.

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    Life Interrupting Work

    work life balance word cloudFor most leaders who are results oriented, high powered and fast paced, life is work. But what happens when life interrupts work?

    Several weeks ago, one of my best and oldest friends passed away. I had the privilege of spending the last few days of her life with her, as I canceled my role in leading a meeting and rushed to the airport in tears to catch an earlier flight than originally planned to see her. It was a precious time that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But it impacted me more than I realized. Only several weeks later did I realize some of the work-related things that totally slipped my mind while I was supporting her family and processing my loss.

    About 8 months ago, I was facilitating a meeting of women business owners and casually stated that I wasn’t at an earlier meeting because…then I suddenly burst into tears….sobbing! The good news is that I was in a “safe space” where they were very supportive, though confused because it came with no warning. I was finally able to communicate that the memory of missing their earlier meeting triggered the recognition that it was because my husband was having a heart transplant at that time. And for some reason, my emotions came pouring out uncontrollably. Continue reading

    Heart Over Head: The Importance of Emotional Leadership

     

     

    The ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions, and to recognize and influence others’ emotions, is a critical leadership skill. It can make the difference between marginal accomplishment of a goal, and engaging the hearts and minds of team members to uncover innovative and game changing solutions that exceed expectations.

    Emotions represent the Heart in the Head + Hands + Heart equation of leadership. It’s where leaders demonstrate that they care about and can connect with others. The emotions of individuals can either activate and motivate the team, or move them to disassociate from the goal and passively comply. Leaders who engage the capabilities and skillsets (hands), and intellect (heads) of their team; but fail to engage their minds and emotions (hearts) will find that there’s a missing link to maximize performance.

    Imagine that you’re leading an organization in transition. The current state is unworkable, and you have a plan and vision for the future, but it will require radical change. You know it is essential to communicate the need for and plan to change (head), the requirements for change (hands), and gain supportfor the change (heart). To effectively do this it’s helpful to understand employee emotions (fear, excitement, uncertainty, confusion, distrust?) and address each one to effectively encourage, motivate and inspire the team. Continue reading

    Left Hand – Right Hand: Balanced Leadership

    Left Hand Right Hand - Miles O'Brien (200x133)Miles O’Brien woke up and sensed that his left arm was there. But when he looked down, it was gone…amputated during surgery as a result of a freak injury several days prior. He wondered how he would provide for his family and perform little but important daily functions that we take for granted. As an award-winning science journalist and CNN contributor he traveled extensively, and was an active sports enthusiast. So what would his life be like now? Rather than retreat into the shadows, he dove into the rehabilitation process and challenged his occupational therapists and prosthetist to help him find ways to continue his normal activity level. They quickly responded and helped him to fulfill his plans of traveling to the Artic, including camping for 4 days on the Denali ice sheet, and riding his bicycle 300 miles across Michigan in two days. But to do so they had to outfit him with equipment and prostheses to replace his arm. He couldn’t function without a workaround strategy to replace that arm, because his body, and our bodies, needs two arms for balance. Continue reading

    Passion: Blinded or Balanced?

    Passion-Blinded (200x145)Ann Marie Sastry has a big idea. With over 70 patents and 80 scientific publications to her credit, she describes herself as a “happy warrior who’s driven by doing the next new thing.” That drive leads her to put in 100 hour work weeks and spend over two decades in pursuit of developing new battery technology application for use in electric vehicles. She’s scrapped the traditional chemical lithium technology to rethink the basics of energy, power, mass, volume, cost and safety, all in search of a new approach. She’s also raised $30 million from a variety of backers in support of her grand idea.

    Sastry has an entrepreneurial zeal for her product that compels her to pursue any and every approach and perspective to accomplish her goal. She has a passion and optimism for success that propels her forward, and expects that within a year or two her product will be in full production. But for every successful entrepreneur, there are many more whose dreams never turn into reality. That’s because the same passion that propels her forward with a clear focus on success, can be blinding to others and cause them to miss the obvious cues that unfortunately their grand idea won’t get off the ground.

    Continue reading

    The Mighty Ones

    The applause was deafening. The congratulations overwhelmed your email box. The press clippings were glowing.  Everyone was buzzing, because your recent product launch was successful. Last quarter’s earnings beat even the analysts’ predictions.  The company’s stock price was up 15%. Operating costs were down, and sales volumes were number one in the industry.

    So how do you follow that act? All of this excitement doesn’t build a platform upon which to rest. Instead it forms a bar, higher than the last one, over which you must hurdle. After all, the stockholders expect more earnings. Customers expect better products. Employees expect more career opportunity. And so it goes. How do you manage all of these expectations for continuous improvement against the best strategy for the company’s growth? How do you compete for market dominance without succumbing to market vulnerabilities?

    Mighty Ones (200x133)This is the pivotal point. The choices you make will become either a stepping stone to greater success, or the rock that trips up your company, your team, or your own leadership success. Companies and people don’t automatically enter a “safe” zone when they reach a measure of accomplishment. But in some cases, their behavior suggests that they think their momentum can’t be stopped.

    You’ve heard the saying, “the higher you climb, the harder you fall.”  While that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, in the midst of success, it’s important to remain grounded; like holding onto a guardrail.


    Jim Collins, author of the best-selling books Good to Great and Built to Last, provides an explanation on how once-mighty companies fall. He highlights five stages in his book How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In.

    1. Hubris born of success. Here an organization or team exhibits extreme pride and arrogance based on past accomplishments.
    2. Undisciplined pursuit of more.  Companies in this stage overreach, become obsessed with growth, and fail to manage the process and pace effectively, ultimately undermining their long-term value.
    3. Denial of risk and peril. By this stage, companies are so caught up in successes that they become blind to the possibilities of failure.
    4. Grasping for salvation. This is the moment where the company’s decisions lead to new life or certain death.
    5.  Capitulation to irrelevance or death. At this point organizations are spiraling out of control and either give in to certain death, or shrink into irrelevance.

    So how does one avoid this death spiral, whether within your team, your organization or for your own leadership abilities? Here are a few tips from my playbook.

    1. Build a culture of humility. Keep the focus on the value you provide to your customers; and the “why” of your organization. What’s the impact if you cease to exist? It’s really not all about your company. It’s about the value you provide to others. This is a giving mentality, where long term relationships, integrity and quality products or services are most important; instead of a getting mentality, where there’s constant pressure on the customer to buy.
    2. Find your truth teller. Unfortunately, some leaders surround themselves with other leaders who will tell them what they want to hear. Or they don’t create a culture where their team feels comfortable fully informing them about business issues. Make sure you surround yourself with people who are encouraged and willing to speak up and say the difficult things or raise questions that may be contrary to the prevailing direction.
    3. Strike your balance. If you try to be all things to all customers; if you overreach in too many different directions, you lose your balance and end up grasping for a lifeline. A tightrope walker is constantly shifting his weight to keep his center of mass above his feet. This alignment is critical in your organization or team to ensure stability between competing priorities.
    4. Exhibit learning leadership. Only when the leader of the team demonstrates a continual desire to learn, to admit faults and deficiencies, and to seek input from the entire team and others outside the company, will others in the organization follow suit.
    5. Master discipline. Establish a system that produces results, and keep repeating it.  Measure the right factors. Ensure team members are learning agile and will support the culture. Focus on a consistent vision. Stick to what works.

    Note that these recommendations have nothing to do with functional or technical skills. You can hire individuals on your team to fulfill those roles. This has everything to do with pure leadership; influencing others to move forward in the right direction, based on the right decisions. These are important steps in building a “mighty” organization. So, are you a “mighty” leader?

    Leadership Development Lesson

    Motivation Moment – Pulling Your Weeds