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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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    When Leading You, Is All About Me

    Angry boss with employeeTrue leadership is about influencing others to achieve common goals. But when leaders place too great a focus on their own self-concept, their status and their personal goals, this self-absorption is generally driven by feelings of insecurity or superiority. These feelings drive behaviors at two opposite ends of the spectrum, and stifle the growth and development of the team and organization. Let’s look at examples of each.

    Insecure Leadership

    Chris is the CEO of a multinational company. As he banged his fist on the conference room table, his frustration was palpable to those in the room. Joe, the VP of Product Development had worked for Chris for a year now. He joined the firm enticed by the scope of responsibility in this VP position, and by Chris’s excitement and commitment to developing a new product line. But now, he was wondering how much longer he could endure working there. Having moved his family half-way across the country, he wanted to give it his best effort, but his natural optimism had waned sharply. Continue reading

    Creative Self-Confidence


    David Kelley’s goal is to build world class designers. He’s the founder of IDEO, a Silicon Valley global design firm whose objective is to create impact through design; and the Stanford “D” school which trains students from various disciplines to incorporate design thinking into their work. Kelley’s firm is known for designing some of the most intriguing ideas, such as the first computer mouse for Apple, the defibrillator that talks to you during an emergency, and the stand-up toothpaste tube. They have expertise and capabilities in brand building, health and wellness, medical products, digital experiences, and business design, to name just a few.

    His underlying premise is that everyone is creative. We simply stop displaying our creativity as we grow up and are encouraged to conform to established norms around us, and therefore it ebbs away. Kelley works with his students to develop and release this creative confidence again; to help them learn to try new things. According to an interview with Charlie Rose in a January 6, 2013, 60 Minutes feature story on IDEO, one of the ways he gains new design ideas is by watching people. Kelley is empathetic to understand what they really value and how they operate in their environment, and his team interviews people to see what they think and feel.  Kelley builds world-class designers who in turn design break-through inventions.  He builds teams of individuals from vastly different backgrounds and leverages their differences to create new solutions, even in areas where they have no natural expertise.


    Creative Steps

    David Kelley’s work is fascinating, but everyone won’t have the benefit of working with someone of his caliber.  So how can you develop a team with a greater creative self-confidence? Consider these tips.

    ·        Thinking environment – Most of us operate in a “doing” environment. We establish processes and routines around what we do and how we handle situations. This creates efficient systems but robs us of the possibilities of improvement and creativity, because we fail to stop and “think” about how we could operate differently. In a “thinking” environment, people are encouraged to reflect on what’s happening, why it’s happening, and alternatives to the current state that will help us reach the desired outcomes. When one person in the team does this, he or she may be considered difficult to work with.  But when an entire team or organization takes time to think through certain situations, they can stimulate break through ideas. Collective ideas make progress.

    ·        Spirit of curiosity – Accepting the status quo limits our thinking. What if the Wright brothers had simply accepted that no one had been successful in building a flying machine, and therefore stopped trying? There’s always pressure to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done, thus conformity becomes the enemy of creativity. All of the inventions we depend on today (like my iPhone, iPad, laptop, etc.) are the result of someone having a spirit of curiosity about how things might work if we just kept trying different alternatives.

    ·        Emphasis on quality, not quantity – Ultimately, one is always sacrificed for the other.  It’s impossible to have an equal balance of both. But at some point, in the development of every new idea or plan, a decision must be made on which one is more important. The appropriate emphasis on quality has the potential to yield a more creative outcome when you consider broader alternatives.

    ·        Nurturing new ideas – Some companies pay lip service to programs soliciting suggestions from employees. They fail however to commit sufficient resources to evaluating these ideas, and to fully engage the organization in valuing different perspectives and approaches. Though only a small percentage of ideas may be workable, the process of getting creative juices flowing and nurturing ideas, creates a stimulating environment where employees are more likely to explore alternatives.  In the 60 Minutes piece, Kelley described growing up in an environment where when something broke, he was expected to take it apart and find a way to fix it. This environment nurtured the creative genius in him. Similarly, Hackathons, first popular in Silicon Valley, provide a nurturing environment when groups of people come together to solve a problem, or develop new solutions or technology.

    ·        Interact with different people – You’ve heard that Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. So it stands to reason that if you hang around with the same people, or people just like you, then you’ll probably keep thinking the same thoughts.  This is natural for most of us because we’re attracted to people who share similar interests. But if you want to stimulate creativity, find people to talk with who have different perspectives. Find people who have different expertise, interests and ways of doing things. Throw a problem into the discussion and open your mind to learn from their different approaches to solving it.  You can bring together a cross disciplinary team at work to solve a problem (yes, ask a finance person to help you solve an engineering problem), or give you new ideas on how to approach it.

    Most of all, to build creative self-confidence in their teams, leaders must look for opportunities to identify and reward creativity in the behaviors of those around them. Even when the results aren’t as practical or useful, recognize the effort and encourage others to replicate it.

    Think again about the computer mouse.  Nothing like it existed before. Consumers weren’t used to this type of device. The design had to be simple and intuitive, and they had to consider eye-hand coordination with the visual screen, along with the look and feel of it. That’s creating something out of nothing.

    So how have you exercised your creativity lately? What are you inspired to do differently? Have you placed yourself in a different environment so that you can see things from a different perspective? Developing creative self-confidence begins with you, and then you can spread it to others. So hurry up and start now so that you can nurture others around you.

    Watch the 60 Minutes video here.

    The Power of “Co”



    Almost all organizations operate with a singular leader at the top, whether the Chairman, CEO or President.  A few have two individuals functioning as “co-leaders”.  But how many organizations are run by a troika?  Three people working equally together to lead the team. Gensler, a global architecture, design, planning and consulting firm with over 3,500 professionals working at 44 locations in 15 countries on 6,700 projects is led by the threesome of David Gensler, Diane Hoskins, and Andy Cohen. With diverse backgrounds, they’ve worked together for 20 years, and now share the leadership role of the firm that David’s father founded in 1965. Their most notable current project is the 2,073 foot tall Shanghai Tower that was topped off in August. It is now China’s tallest building, and second in the world to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.

    What makes their working relationship even more unusual is that every two years they shift responsibilities for different aspects of the firm. Rather than align responsibilities solely around their areas of strength or interest, each of them continues to grow through taking on roles that are not in their normThree Hands Linkedal suite of skillsets. Their success is evident by their list of projects and clients, about half of which are Fortune 100 companies, and is profiled in the September 2, 2012 issue of Fortune.

    What is “Co”?

    Gensler’s leadership team has harnessed the power of “co”; sharing joint or mutual responsibility among two or more people. At the risk of riling dictionary enthusiasts, the opposite of “co” is “solo”, or one who leads or functions alone.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with operating solo, or as the singular lead on a project or initiative. The decision to do so is a result of individual style, skillset, convenience, or appointment.  But let’s take a minute to explore the power of “co”; sharing accountability and authority with two or more people to lead a team or accomplish a goal.

    Here are ten principles to help leaders to successfully leverage the power of “co”.

    1.      Collaboration – A form of co-laboring or working together collectively to lead the firm.  This is their key word and they model its effectiveness by integrating each other’s strengths, ideas and knowledge for the good of the team.

    2.      Mutual Respect – This involves recognizing each other’s value, esteeming and acknowledging one another.  In many cases, having mutual respect is the key to resolving disagreements, because it provides a basis for working toward positive relationships.

    3.      Communication – Sharing information, seeking input, and ensuring clarity and alignment of purpose and direction. Cohen says they can almost complete each other’s sentences.  They also have a video meeting every Friday that is “sacred”.

    4.      Likability – Shared values and interests form the basis for liking someone. It’s an intangible factor in building effective relationships. Gensler says that they’ve worked together for so long that they’ve even built a level of affection for one another.

    5.      Low Ego – Some corporate leadership styles are domineering and authoritarian, based on the premise that only one person can run the organization.  Operating as a “co-leader” requires valuing colleagues as much as, or more than oneself. Since David Gensler’s father founded the firm, one might expect that he’d have the lead role, but that’s not the case.

    6.      Cross-Pollination – Recognition that great ideas may come from a variety of people, and ensuring openness to receive, debate, evaluate and integrate those ideas.

    7.      Perspective – Leaders who have diverse points of view on situations, events and causation can create a rich environment of discussion and debate, but too much diversity can lead to divisiveness. An underlying shared perspective is important for cohesiveness and alignment.

    8.      Self-Confidence – When leaders are comfortable with who they are, their skills, abilities and particularly their limitations, they will be more open to others’ ideas and input. Insecure leaders are cancerous to the organization.

    9.      Trust – This is like the oil that makes the engine run.  Without trust the organization will quickly seize up and cease to function.

    10.   Cooperation – The team must work together towards a common purpose or benefit. Their actions must complement one another and be aligned toward a singular goal that is clearly understood by all.

    Leverage Your “Co”

    Leaders that model the power of “co” at the top, derive benefits from it at all levels of the organization. The effectiveness of their working relationship defines the culture for current and prospective employees to share information, ideas and intellectual capability, and models the behavior for others.

    Of course, all organizations aren’t conducive to a leadership troika, three people working equally together to lead the team. But all organizations do need the leadership team to operate with the power of “co”, using the principles outlined above to be more effective in reaching their goals. Even the singular Chairman or CEO needs a team supporting him or her that demonstrates these traits.

    So whatever your role or the size organization or team you may lead, think about how you can leverage the power of “co”.

    Read the Fortune Article here.

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