Tag Archive for: workplace wisdom

In his groundbreaking book Good to Great, Jim Collins introduced the world to the concept of “Level 5 Leadership.”

At the time, I was five years into my tenure as CEO of a fledgling social purpose

real estate venture known as More Than A Roof. 

This concept resonated deeply and made an indelible impression on me.

I made it my mission to be an ever-learning student and practitioner of Level 5 Leadership.

Here’s how Collins’ 5 Levels are summarised as a quick recap.

 

Level 1:

You are a competent individual. Your leadership starts with your good individual skills. You make productive contributions through your talent, knowledge, skills, and good working habits.

Level 2:

You are a committed team member. Your leadership involves excellent team skills. You contribute your individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and work effectively with others in a group setting.

Level 3:

You are a competent manager. As a leader, you develop and practice excellent management skills. You organize people and resources to effectively and efficiently pursue predetermined goals.

Level 4:

You are recognized as an effective leader. Your leadership means demonstrating a commitment to and pursuing a clear, compelling vision and stimulating higher performance standards.

Level 5:

You are a top executive. You build enduring greatness at the highest leadership level through a curious blend of personal humility and professional will, becoming the key to creating a great organization.

Here’s the Kicker!

Based on Collins’ extensive research, organizations spearheaded by Level 5 leaders consistently outperform their sector by a margin of three to one over time.

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that kind of result?

 

The Professional Leader Vs. Amateur Difference 

Based on all the above, here are some hallmarks of Level 5 Professionalism 

 

Personal Humility vs. Ego-Driven Leadership

Level 5 leaders have earned and learned a measure of personal humility. In fact, they are known for their humility. They credit others and external factors for success while taking personal responsibility for failures.

They recognize that they don’t know what they don’t know, and this humility is blended with intense professional will.

This particular combination of qualities fosters a genuineness that shines through and attracts people to a cause.

I’ve found that true pros do not aspire to become larger-than-life personalities or unreachable icons.

On the other hand, amateur leaders often rely on a more ego-driven, self-serving style that is all about personal recognition and credit.

Focus on Lasting Legacy vs. Short-Term Results

Level 5 pros aim to create a lasting legacy and work towards the organization’s long-term success. It’s a bigger vision that will carry over and continue to grow after their departure.

They foster an organizational culture that supports the long-term vision.

Amateurs often have a default mindset that relies on personal gain or short-term wins that serve a personal agenda.

While there certainly are situations that call for immediate short-term results, having that as a primary strategy doesn’t work.

Developing Successors vs. Maintaining Power

Level 5 leaders select and develop superb successors, wanting their organization to become even more successful well into the future. Succession planning and consistent leadership development are top of mind.

Other leaders may focus more on maintaining their power and influence within the organization.

Beyond these broad-stroke Level 5 mindsets and approaches, there are innumerable Amateur Vs Professional Comparisons.

 Curated from a Farnham Street Blog

 Here are some of my favourites :

  • Amateurs focus on dividing the pie. Professionals focus on growing the pie.
  • Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just a launchpad for the next step.
  • Amateurs are reactive. Professionals are proactive.
  • Amateurs want to win the moment. Professionals want to win the decade.
  • Amateurs wait for someone to recognize their positional, tap them on the shoulder, and give them an ample opportunity. Professionals go show people what they are capable of with no expectations.
  • Amateurs are kind-of -in. Professionals are all-in.
  • Amateurs focus on the outcome. Professionals focus on the process.
  • Amateurs believe they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circle of competence.
  • Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing who they are. Professionals know they have blind spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.
  • Amateurs value doing it once. Professionals value doing it consistently.
  • Amateurs rely on willpower. Professionals focus on creating an environment that turns desired behaviours into success habits.
  • Amateurs wait until they feel like it. Professionals do it when they don’t feel like it.
  • Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.
  • Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and partnering with people who are strong where they are weak.
  • Amateurs predict. Professionals position.
  • Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.
  • Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on obtaining the best outcomes
  • Amateurs worry about what they see. Professionals worry about what they can’t see.
  • Amateurs focus on expedience. Professionals know that haste can make waste.
  • Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long-term.

Amateurs focus on putting other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

Professionalism In Leadership Summary

To summarize, Level 5 Leadership over time cultivates a culture of success and innovation, fosters excellence, promotes responsibility and accountability and wins loyalty.

There you have it!

Until next time.

Questions?  Comments?

Shoot me a note. I read all my emails and respond as I can.

 

 

 

Note: This is not the actual bridge in my story, but a very close facsimile.

 It happened some years ago but it was an adventure I’ll never forget. I was exploring a rugged and remote part of my province. My trusty truck was pulling hard in the steep terrain, and my fuel supply was dwindling.

My map showed me an alternate route that would get me back to civilization (and fuel) much sooner than going back the way I came. It meant crossing a fairly large river, but the map showed a bridge – so no problem, right?

It was almost nightfall when I got to the river. Guess what – the road led right onto a timber railway bridge!

I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My heart rate went up a notch.

This required some “thinking about it.”

Pulling aside, I made myself a cup of tea. Somehow that helped.

Looking more closely, the rails had 2×6 planks installed on either side to accommodate vehicle traffic should anyone be nutty enough to attempt a crossing.

 I started “walking the plank” on either side of the rail to check if it was sturdy enough. It seemed to be.

There’s no turning around or backing up with the truck, camper and loaded trailer on that narrow plank. Not an option.

There were no guardrails. The slightest deviance from the plank could tip the whole rig into the swift flowing waters.

My next thought was, “What if an oncoming train happens?”

Somewhere in a Western movie, some guy would always put their ear on the track to determine an oncoming train.

It worked in the movies, so I decided to try it. Nothing to be heard.

Taking a deep breath, I started the engine, aligned with the track, and started slowly and carefully inching across.

It was the longest twelve minutes of my life, my heart thumping every moment of the way.

In retrospect, as sketchy as it was, I had to trust that the bridge would get me from here to there.

I had to trust my driving skills to not go off the rails.

 I had to accept a reasonable risk of no oncoming train.

Trust is the cornerstone for building relationships and running our businesses.

It’s like a bridge, connecting us to others, facilitating communication and collaboration, and strengthening our bond.

It allows us to traverse the otherwise vast chasm of unfamiliarity, misunderstanding, and insecurity.

Just like many types of physical bridges get us from here to there, types of Trust can be viewed on a continuum.

At the one end there’s a tightrope which only allows fragile, one-way traffic. This might represent a relationship or business venture just beginning to build Trust. Next would be suspension bridge, or a hastily erected Bailey bridge over a washout and so on.

At the far end, a substantial, four-lane bridge accommodates high-speed, multi-directional traffic.

This could symbolize a well-established relationship or a successful business partnership where Trust is deeply ingrained and mutual.

Here are a few examples.

The Fragile Tightrope: Picture a trust bridge resembling a tightrope, swaying precariously with each step. This delicate construction permits only one-way traffic, making it essential to tread carefully. In relationships where Trust is fragile, any misstep or breach can easily send the participant tumbling down. It’s like walking on eggshells, constantly second-guessing intentions and actions. This kind of trust bridge limits openness and can create an atmosphere of suspicion.

The Swinging Suspension Bridge: Moving along the trust bridge continuum, we encounter a swinging suspension bridge. This structure allows for limited two-way traffic, enabling communication and interaction. Although the bridge may sway with the winds of doubt or uncertainty, Trust remains intact, albeit with some wobbles. It requires continuous efforts to maintain balance and address concerns promptly.  

The Substantial Highway:  This is the trust bridge at its strongest—a steel and concrete four-lane highway built to withstand the tests of time and traffic. This bridge enables fast and reliable connections, fostering openness, collaboration, and mutual respect. Trust on this scale allows for smooth two-way traffic, ensuring effective communication and meaningful relationships.

When the Trust Bridge Becomes Blocked, Compromised, or Broken: Just as real bridges can encounter roadblocks, detours, or even collapse, trust bridges also face challenges. When Trust becomes blocked, it obstructs the flow of communication and understanding. Misunderstandings, unfulfilled promises, and hidden agendas can lead to a traffic jam of emotions.

When a Bridge Collapses: The immediate feeling is denial and disbelief. You’re caught off-guard, especially if the bridge had appeared solid and sturdy. You may stand incredulous on one side of the chasm, wondering how such a sturdy structure could fall so unexpectedly.

Anger soon follows, kindled by the hurt of betrayal and fanned by resentment towards the person who let you down and perhaps even towards yourself for not seeing the signs.

The broken bridge also leads to anxiety, as you’re stranded, unable to reach the other side, unsure how to rebuild or find another way. Thoughts of lashing out might bubble up, but they only lead to more destruction and less resolution.

Financial damage might occur, especially if the trust bridge was between business partners or in a marital relationship where finances were intertwined.

Moreover, the stress caused by a betrayal of Trust can manifest as physiological symptoms such as loss of sleep or appetite. In some cases, individuals may even resort to thoughts of self-harm or harming others, showing the severity of the psychological impact of broken Trust.

In its aftermath, a bridge that once stood firm may be left in ruins. Moreover, the relationship might be terminated, as rebuilding a fallen bridge takes more energy and resources than building a new one.

The effects of this broken Trust may spill over into other relationships, contaminating them.

As a result, you might start questioning other bridges, even those that are well-built and sturdy, casting doubts on their stability.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Stephen R. Covey

To mitigate these adverse effects, it is crucial to diligently maintain our bridges of Trust. Frequent checks and balances, open communication, and mutual respect are the pillars that uphold these bridges.

 Friedrich Nietzsche once said:

 “I’m not upset that you lied to me; I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

Therefore, let’s work to keep our bridges strong because they are not quickly rebuilt once broken.

However, even when a trust bridge breaks, it’s essential to remember that it’s not the end of the road.

It’s a lesson, a warning sign that helps us build stronger, more resilient bridges in the future.

 “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Isaac Newton

So, let’s focus on building bridges of Trust, nurturing and maintaining them because, ultimately, these bridges connect us.

Without them, we are but islands in a vast sea.

Until Next Time.

Hey – If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy this one

(Just click on this title)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



I don’t watch a lot of television .

That said, one show that gets airtime at our house is called NCIS.
Let’s just say my wife is a fan.

It’s a popular 15 year plus series that follows the escapades of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service’s (NCIS) Washington, D.C. Major Case Response Team, led by Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs. 

Team leader Special Agent Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon), is a tightly wound, monosyllabic type with steely blue eyes and a tense jaw twitch that flares whenever he’s pissed off, which is pretty much all the time.

The other notable thing about Gibbs is that he lives by a set of iron-clad rules. His rules, accumulated over time, are his worldview and personal guide for life. Appropriate to the series, they are a sure-fire checklist for solving all sorts of heinous crimes. His team has to get acquainted with his rules pretty quick if they are going to understand Gibbs or survive his highly driven personality.

Gibbs’ Rule #8: “Never take anything for granted.”

It all started when his first wife, Shannon told him that “Everyone needs a code they can live by” After their wedding, Gibbs began writing his rules down, keeping them in a small tin inside his home. Though he uses the tin full of handwritten rules often, we almost never see it.

Gibb’s Rules has spawned its own website and an entire spinoff industry of T-shirts mugs, posters and plaques. See: https://bit.ly/2FHtCgE

“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” Thoreau 

Point is, we all have personal rules and corresponding habits that form around them.

I recently poured through the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhag and skimmed Atomic Habits by James Clear. Both authors make that point that our internal rules and habits are insanely powerful.

No matter if it’s the Ten Commandments or Gibb’s Rules, how we engage with rules and habits governs just about everything. It dramatically impacts our personal well-being, productivity, and overall happiness.

Researcher and author Gretchen Rubin who is best known for The Happiness Project offers some remarkable insights on how we interact with rules, – both our own and those imposed by others. 

Surprise, surprise!
No one size fits all.
We have widely varying responses to rules that shape and govern our lives. 

Rubin outlines four broad categories as a framework of understanding on how we respond to rules. People tend to fall into these four general response categories.

OBLIGERS 

Obligers are great at meeting outer expectations. They deliver projects on time in a dutiful fashion when someone else is counting on them They struggle with inner expectations, such as setting personal resolutions. They become discouraged when trying to adopt new habits because they’ve tried and failed in the past. They need outer accountability to meet inner expectations,” says Rubin. “They do well with deadlines and team supervision.

There are hundreds of ways to build outer accountability, and that’s what obligers need.

QUESTIONERS 

There are Questioners who question all expectations. They will follow the rules, but only if it makes sense. They want to know why they should do something because they have a deep commitment to logic and efficiency. This tendency can be viewed as being disrespectful or insubordinate because they seem like they’re trying to undermine authority. Some workplaces (or families for that matter) reward questioning and some absolutely don’t. Questioners generally need to learn how to ask questions in respectful ways. 


REBELS

Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner. They do what they want to do in the way and when they want to do it, acting from a source of freedom, choice, and self-expression. When someone else tries to get a rebel to do something, they resist.
“Identity is so important to the rebel,” says Rubin. “For example, a rebel might resist going to a 10 a.m. staff meeting because they hate being told where to go and when to show up.” 

If you’re a rebel, it might just help to be not too self -absorbed with it. Just remind yourself of the example you’re setting or the goals you want to accomplish. 


UPHOLDERS 

Upholders are good at meeting inner and outer expectations. They meet deadlines, thrive under rules and expectations, and keep resolutions without too much of a problem. Rubin is self-admitted upholder, which is why she had an easy time completing her Happiness Project.

While this tendency sounds like productivity perfection, one of an upholder’s issues is that they can be seen as rigid, having a hard time switching gears when circumstances change. They also struggle when they’re in an environment that has an emphasis on flexibility If there is a rule, they don’t break it.”
If you’re an upholder, you thrive under routines and schedules. You can do what you want to do once you decide, says Rubin.


She explains it all beautifully here. https://youtu.be/gBNEVXg2CNU
Grab a coffee and give it a look. Well worth the watch. Recommend.



“If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?” Charlie Brown


Something to Think About

Our personal tendency around rules shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework of responses lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage with others more effectively. The framework helps explain why we act and why we don’t act.


Something to Do

Check your personal inventory of rules and habits. Maybe some things need “Kondo-izing”.
The world around us is constantly changing, yet there are things we cling to for no apparent reason other than it’s become a comfortable habit. A self-imposed rule may no longer be relevant.

The better you understand yourself, your own nature, your own temperament, your own habits, your own values, the better you can engage with others and the rules of life. 

Have a great month!

As always, I really appreciate your thoughts, observations, questions and comments.  

We’re doing important things together in this world, so I love hearing about what’s happening for you!  
(or even what kind of coffee you’re enjoying this month)


Drop me a text or an email. I’d like that.

Lorne  604 6174707