Monthly Archives: January 2015

Just Lean Into It

Have you ever had a huge goal or task to complete that at the time seemed overwhelming?

It may be that you are currently facing such a challenge with a new target that your boss has just set you and you’re still in shock and don’t know where to start!

In July 2014 I took a decision to compete in the Copenhagen Ironman and left myself with just 3 weeks to get myself into some sort of shape, although I’ve completed various Ironman races previously, I’ve never given myself such little time to prepare.

From the moment of decision, I threw myself into a training plan with a sharpness of focus that was possibly driven by the fear of the potential pain of the race if I didn’t do the key sessions prior to the race. I leaned into the process (training) and finished the race.

I can also remember very clearly when I was in a sales role and had to make a load of cold calls to directors of various global organisations, at the time I had my boss and one of the top sales guys listening to every word waiting to give me feedback once I’d finish the call!

The sheer fear I had of picking up the phone to speak to a complete stranger who wasn’t expecting my call was terrifying, it had me in a vice like grip of not wanting to go near that phone, I’d procrastinate as much as I could to put off the inevitable! The truth of the matter was that I had to make the calls and I was turning it all in my head and thinking about all the possible negative outcomes from the calls I’d have to make!

Luckily for me, I was an account manager for a Mindset company and sure enough, once I’d spoken about my fears and was able to re-focus my thinking, it wasn’t long before I set new company records for meetings & workshops booked.

Ultimately, I just leaned into it and learnt by doing! Each time I made a call, I got a result, it might not have been the result I was looking for but I did get a result. Once I put the phone down, I got feedback from the more experienced guys who’d heard it all before, and they helped me navigate around that situation for the next call.

The same is true for you and your business, the most important thing is to make a start, that start is first made in your mind, it’s a decision that you need to make that you are going to commit to the goal and that you’ll do everything you can to see it through to completion.

Any ‘speed bumps’ that appear along the way are just that; they appear to help you pay attention to where your energy is required so that you get it right! (It’s just feedback, if you’re not getting the results you want) Results, whether they are good or bad, are decided in your own head. It’s better not to label them good or bad, it’s just a result!

A better way to look at it, is to unpick the actions that led to the results, results leave clues along the way and you can unravel the steps you took and tweak tiny bits in the process so that you get a different result for next time.

When the new targets land on your laptop or are presented to you at that meeting or even for  goals you’ve set for yourself personally or professionally, the first decision to make is whether you believe you CAN achieve them! If you don’t believe it’s possible, you’re in trouble from the start and there’s a really high chance that your sub conscious mind will conspire with that thought and ensure that you don’t achieve it!

We all know that last years target is likely to be pointing upwards for the following year, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that whatever you did last year is only going to go so far towards helping you hit the new target. You are going to have to change how you approach this new challenge, you are going to have to get on with it as soon as possible, before you lose to much time procrastinating and wondering whether it’s possible or not!

“Destiny is shaped in the moment of decision”. Tony Robbins

Some of the old strategies to get going are to just make a start, before you make a start you have to decide to start, I know this sounds silly but the decision always comes first, once you’ve made the decision, you need to follow it up with action and start gathering some momentum, before you know it, you’re on your way.

Below are some headings you might want to take a look at, have you set goals for these yet?

Health

Family

Professional development

Personal development

Relationships

Finances

Attitude

Social life

Let us know what other topics you’d like to read about, your feedback is important to us at Foresight.

Trust is the KEY

Building a high performing team requires a number of ingredients but if you’re looking for that team to be able to sustain that drive and enthusiasm towards a common goal, you will need to ensure that trust is solid within your top team. Some years ago I had a conversation with a businessman who had retired, he had previously ran a very successful company that he started in the post war era and very quickly I found out some of the core aspects of what allowed him to succeed. A lot of his personal learnings were his reflections of what he would have perhaps done differently, having said that, Trust back then played a big role in him building a flourishing business. The old school way of doing business back then was built all around being authentic, a hand shake would be as strong as any 20 page contract is nowadays! Maybe I’m being a little romantic with the idea of being able to do business is this way in todays constantly moving environment but there is something very special with knowing you can trust someone to be able to keep their word.

The Heart of Trust

If you attempt to get to the heart of trust and what that key ingredient is that builds trust, you wouldn’t be too far off if you plumbed for being able to keep you word, or in other words, being authentic. Unfortunately there are so many examples of where trust has been eroded time and time again across all aspects of our lives in the last 20 years, that it has become acceptable and even the norm.

Gazumping is one of the biggest examples most of us will have either heard of or experienced in our lifetime, when house prices were escalating at such a pace and people choose a higher bid over a previously agreed sale with someone else, this  was common place and eroded trust in the housing market. Looking through any newspaper around the world will expose a list of examples where trust is being knocked and the confidence you might have had in a leader is wiped clean because they’ve said one thing but done something completely different!

It’s no wonder that we’ve become conditioned to be cautious when dealing with another team member or someone new that might have their own agenda. Trust can sometimes takes years to build but can be blown apart within a heart beat, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something big that breaks the trust it can be as simple as someone not turning up on time. As leaders, we need to remember that we are being watched all of the time, our team are constantly looking for the small chinks / cracks in our behaviour where we might say one thing but then do something different!

3 Main aspects to Trust

1. Do people trust the strategic direction you and your team have taken?

2. Do people trust you personally?

3. Do your clients trust your organisation?

Keys to Building Trust

1. Being open & honest (Often it’s better to be up front and have the difficult conversation)

2. Deliver on your promises, that means keeping in mind the date that it is meant to be completed!

3. Communicate with great clarity and ensure that the team or person fully understands what is expected.

4. Listen with Empathy.

5. Being flexible, which may mean that you have to look at the bigger picture and the greater good of the team, instead of being focused just on your part of the business.

6. Show interest in the person or the project being discussed.

7. Be consistent, people will feel more trusting of you when act and behave in a consistent way. (Passive/ aggressive behaviour will not encourage people to be open with you).

8. Be aware of being over trusting, the goal is to be carefully trusting which will mean that you need to ensure you know the person’s capability and their motivation to be able to complete a task that you might assign to them.

9. Be present, sounds easy to do but so many leaders struggle with this one. Ensure that you see each conversation as an opportunity to leave a positive finger print. Being present means being fully aware of how you are acting and being in that moment whilst with that person and that you are not looking to end the interaction to rush off to something else.

10. Schedule regular Check – In’s with your team and each individual to allow for some “them time”, this will encourage a more open dialog and reinforce that everyone is still on track.

Remember that the small micro signals that someone like James Bond might pick up during a conversation will give someone away when they’re not telling the truth or speaking their truth, to the trained eye these are like a cheap suit and easily spotted.

Ultimately, if someone doesn’t trust you, they aren’t going to buy whatever you are selling or attempting to put across, so check in with yourself to see if you really believe in what you are doing! Let’s face it, if you’re not convinced, then there’s little or no chance of others being bowled over.

Perspective

It’s so easy to lose touch with what’s important to us, whether that’s personally or professionally, most of us run so fast to stay on the treadmill of life that it takes what we call a life jolt to help us put everything into perspective.

If you’re lucky, the life jolt will create a deeper level of awareness around how close you are to the big rocks, those things that are immovable to you no matter what!

You probably know the story of the lecturer who as part of his presentation had a fish tank on stage with him, as he filled the tank with a few big rocks, he asked the audience whether the tank was full? A large number of people thought that it was but then the lecturer added some smaller rocks around the gaps, once finished, he asked the audience whether it was now full? Of course, they were now wise to this and said a cautious no! He then proceeded to fill the gaps with sand and again, once finished asked whether the tank was now indeed full? Most of the people this time suggested that it was full, and then he finally added a jug of water!

His demonstration gave him the opportunity to show the audience that it would have been almost impossible to get the big rocks into the tank if they were placed in there last, he was able to reinforce the message that in life you have to take care of the big rocks first and then all the other stuff fits around those big rocks. Usually it’s not until you have a life jolt that this sort of wisdom comes to the surface in our lives, again this could be personally or professionally. The loss of a friend or family member, it could be a loved one going through a tough time with an illness, at work it could be a merger and your whole professional life is turned upside down or a demotion. It’s not all doom and gloom, a life jolt can be very positive as well, a new born baby can certainly change your perspective and transform your presence to what’s important.

What’s your purpose?

The good news is that you don’t have to wait for a life jolt to show up in your life to ensure you stay on track and in line with your core values, you can simply take some time for yourself and walk yourself through the following process using Robert Dilt’s model below.

Understanding Dilt’s model

Purpose moulds our identity which shapes our values & beliefs which influence our capabilities that direct our behaviours which in turn determines the results in our environment.

Purpose

Identity

Beliefs & Values

Capabilities

Behaviours

Environment

From the top down, you can look at this model and apply it to your personal life and spend some time considering what your purpose is? (This may take a little time, sit with that question for as long as it takes! It took me 6 weeks)

Once you have defined your purpose, that will naturally flow into the cascade that flows in the model. As a business we use this model to help organisations get a better sense of what their True North is.

Check in with yourself

There are other things you can do to quickly check in with yourself, you can calibrate where you are on a scale of 1 – 10 in terms of whether you are close to your big rocks or not, once you’ve scored yourself, you can pay attention to what’s preventing you from staying focused on the important things, where’s the slippage coming from?

Keeping a journal

A very powerful way to staying present to the things that are important is to continue to take notes of all of the things that you are grateful for in your life. This would include all of the potential annoying people who are just there as your teachers! Showing you that you might still be judging or critical to others!

And finally, here’s something to think about in terms of perspective. What do you see in the below picture?

anglesbats

Psychologists used to use images like this to determine if someone was crazy or not. If they saw the bats, they might say that the individual was possessed by the devil! And if they saw the angels, they could also accuse the person of being insane, because they’d say that by not seeing the bats first, you are ignoring the obvious signs of the devil. Eventually the subject would get confused (much like you may be right now) and they’d have the perfect excuse to lock them up in an insane asylum!

Life-Work Balance

On the 28th April we are taking 2 weeks out at a busy time of our year to support the Cycle Against Suicide charity in Ireland that has become really important to us as a business, we will be cycling 1,400km’s around the island of Ireland & Northern Ireland to raise awareness around the key message of “It’s OK not to feel OK and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”.

I guess it could have been any charity but it isn’t, this is about raising awareness for mental health sufferers initially in Ireland & Northern Ireland with the intention to spread the word globally. The reason it is something we feel very committed to as a business is that it is completely in line with our Purpose which “Is to change the way people see themselves and the world”.

If you look at what lies at the core of mental illness, there will be a common aspect of low self worthiness which links to low self esteem, I was lucky enough to be part of this new charity last year and although we’re talking predominately about depression, the whole experience was extremely uplifting! Complete strangers would open up and share their stories, it takes a lot of courage to be able to be comfortable to hold that vulnerable space and share your deepest darkness thoughts and feelings and that’s what the cycle ride allowed to happen. Being out amongst nature and exercising opened people up and created a real sense of oneness.

What became apparent to me through that experience last year was that we are never really alone, there’s always an opportunity to pick up the phone or go and see someone if you need support, again, it takes courage to ask for help but whenever I’ve asked for help, the response has always blown me away. It is also in our power to be hyper sensitive to where we could perhaps support someone who we know might need a little extra ray of sunshine in their day, we can chose to go the extra mile and deliberately leave a more positive finger print.

The latest data in the field of positive psychology is that you need a ratio of 3 positive thoughts to counter 1 negative or 3 acts of kindness will work in the same way, simple things like holding a door open for someone, giving a smile away to a complete stranger or dare I say it, letting someone in front of you on the motorway even if you are in a hurry! There are loads of kind acts you could perform throughout your day, just because you can!

I personally have been caught in some dark and lonely places but luckily for me, it’s never really lasted for months and then led into years worth of suffering, what I’m attempting to say here is that it’s not been a permanent issue for me. I’ve always seen that I have had a choice in whether I sit in that dark place or whether I chose to see it as an opportunity to grow. We often think about having a bad day but when you really look at it in detail, it’s rarely a day full of bad! If you can look at the bad experience as a bad moment and make sure you don’t make it worse by continuing to retell the story over and over to yourself and other people, this will short circuit it into becoming a bad day!

joykid

Remember the energy that kids have or tap into your own memories of being a kid and being outside  playing and exploring with your friends when you were growing up. Reconnect to that childlike energy and become more curious with the things that show up in your day, you’ll notice that you can get more from your day when you use your imagination and creativity more frequently.

Here’s some really powerful words from Mother Teresa which you can draw strength from.

 

 

The Final Analysis

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self – centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

 

Here’s some more inspiration:-

 

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world. Anne Frank

 

Here’s some useful things you can do to build your happiness scale:-

  • Do kind things for others
  • Thank the people you’re grateful to
  • Find three good things each day
  • Look for the good in those around you
  • Bring mindfulness into your day
  • Find your strengths and focus on using them
  • Get help if you’re struggling
  • Help kids build emotional resilience
  • Use positive parenting techniques
  • Volunteer your time, energy and skills

 

betterway

Change

Before I start on the topic of change, I thought I’d just share some stats which will give you something to think about.

  • 90% of who we are has been wired by 35!
  • 1% of your cells are replaced every day.
  • Taste buds live only a few hours.
  • Your white blood cells live for about 10 days.
  • Muscle cells live about 3 months.
  • 30% of your cells are replaced after a month.
  • That means, there’s a new you in a season!

Movement or the lack of movement also has an impact on cell growth or decay, a sedentary lifestyle hastens cell decay! An active lifestyle hastens cell renewal.

I find this topic of change so interesting, we all tend to do battle with change but it’s the one thing that remains consistent in our lives, change is happening around us all of the time, it’s natures way. Whilst you’ve been reading this post, you will have gone from thinking about something else to now focusing your attention onto this topic of change, your breathing pattern will have changed, your position in your chair may have changed etc…… You see there’s change happening in every aspect of our lives and yet we don’t give it much thought.

The really exciting news is that even though 90% of who we are has been wired by the time we hit 35, all the latest data in neuroscience confirms that it’s not hardwired for life, you can rewire your thought patterns and create new habits, thus creating new results in your personal & professional lives.

Awareness is the Key to Change

Which of these chapters do you see yourself in?

1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

To be able to change anything about ourselves, we need to be awake and become aware of the patterns of behaviour that we run or perhaps closer to the truth, the patterns of behaviour that run us!

Our biggest challenge is that we have become so comfortable with what we know, even if what we know isn’t even serving us well. We’ve all had years worth of conditioning that we need to unravel and then mindfully think our way to creating from a more powerful foundation, one that will be sustainable and allow you to flourish.

Things to think about:-

  • Has someone else achieved the change you’re looking change in yourself?
  • Stay focused on the positive outcomes of the new change you are looking to create.
  • How will you feel once you’ve achieved the new change or goal?
  • Think about all of the new opportunities that will come your way once you’ve created the new habit.
  • What else will you attempt now that you’ve been able to change other aspects of yourself?
  • You might meet your future partner at the gym because of the change you’re making.
  • Like anything new, it’s all about taking small steps toward your goal on a daily basis.

Some great quotes around change

Be the change you want to see in the world. Gandhi

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it keeps you busy but it gets you nowhere! Unknown

What happens if you keep on photocopying a photocopy?

They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Andy Warhol

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Does “POSITIVITY” really work?

If you ask the question, I guess you’d get a lot of people just saying yeah of course being positive works, it’s fairly easy to see the impact of how being positive can have within a sporting context, when either an individual or a team are competing on the world stage.

I’m sure a lot of people have seen a number of sport related movies with the rousing half time speech from the coach, asking the team to go the extra yard and then the team goes on to win.

But does it have much impact in the workplace?

Can you just switch it on?

It all starts with Awareness, there are some fundamental foundations that will help before we get started or will help if we can calibrate where we are starting from.
Just by using the scale of 1 to 10 will help you check in with yourself to see where you’re at right now, 1 being not particularly great or ready to jump out of bed, and 10 being really excited and can’t wait to start your day.

I’m sure you can remember one of those days when you’d really prefer to have a duvet day, you might calibrate yourself at a 3 or 4 but you have to drag yourself out of bed because you have an important meeting with a client. To compound things, you’re late getting into work and your boss wants you to walk them through your presentation before you head out to see the client.

Your boss gives you some “feedback” that doesn’t really fill you with confidence and you then have to somehow pick yourself up and be in a positive mindset for your meeting! At best, you may well still be calibrating at a 3 or 4 but most of us mere mortals might even spiral further out of control and end up further down that scale and be begging our confidence to show up!

The good news is that I’m sure you can remember those days where you are calibrating higher up the scale, maybe a 7 or 8 and when you wake up, you bounce out of bed and are excited about your day ahead and the meeting you have with your client.
You get to work early so you can tidy up any e-mails that you need to respond to from other clients.

And in advance of this important meeting, you’ve asked your boss for some time so you can practice your presentation and get their feedback so you can make any final tweaks to your pitch.
Your boss gives you some great “feedback” which you take in your stride and adjust the slides before you head on out of the office for your meeting, probably at worst still calibrating at a 7 or an 8 or maybe even up a couple of notches because you’ve had time to rehearse your pitch and you’re feeling really confident.

Two very different scenarios with unless you’re very lucky, two very different outcomes from your client meeting!

Barbara Fredrickson’s book on Positivity dives into her own research but also pulls together other studies to look the difference being positive has on performance, well being, resilience, longevity of life amongst other important indicators.  It supports what we all probably knew already and it adds to the argument that you can switch positivity on when you need to raise your performance.

To stay in a healthy positive mindset, you need to have a ratio of 3 – 1, so for every negative thought you need 3 positive thoughts to counter any negativity. Simple things like getting pumped up before doing your presentation by saying positive things to yourself about being fully prepared and excited, does have an impact and will push you up that scale of 1 – 10.

Being resilient is becoming a big attribute that companies are looking to build within their organisations and it’s no wonder why, being able to bounce back quickly from any set backs is becoming a competitive edge in the corporate marketplace. Positivity plays a big role here!

Recommended reading linked to this article

Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson

Flourish by Martin Seligman

The biology of belief by Bruce Lipton

The Mirror is always right.

There’s no getting away with it, if you want the truth you will get it when you look in the mirror.

Whether it’s as simple as looking at your physical appearance to check out how you are progressing towards your fitness goals or if you are doing a deeper dive into other aspects of your life, it never lies, the truth will always be there!

You can fool yourself but if you are willing to be truthful it will be plain to see!

The mirror principle is a powerful coaching approach and requires the individual to look at what is showing up in their lives and take 100% personal responsibility for everything.

The main challenge people have with this simple yet highly effective tool, is that it’s easier to blame circumstance, other people, the global economy and a whole host of other excuses so that they don’t have to look at how they are responding to the curve balls that life throws.

The curve balls will be different for all of us, but when they happen, we all have an opportunity to respond in an emotionally intelligent way, that will then determine the fingerprint you end up leaving in that moment.

Whenever I’ve pulled on the thread and unravelled it all the way back to the start, it’s always led back to me doing something which is now showing up in the current moment. The simple principal of cause and effect is really what I’m talking about here.

If you look at the results you are currently getting right now in your life, the predecessor to it all will be a series of thoughts and behaviours that have led to the results. Ultimately, you will have had a choice in every decision you have had to make along your journey.

When we choose to avoid the mirror work, we miss the opportunity to find out what’s really going on and in turn miss the opportunity to learn and grow.

As a leader, it’s easy to fall into the bear trap of blaming your team members for a poor result and it’s where most of us would usually go,  most of the time it’s in an attempt to get a change in their behaviour to get a different outcome.

Once again, whenever I’ve sat with a leader in a coaching session and asked them to unravel where this all started, they very quickly realise that it sits with themselves. It always links back to something they’ve either said or not said that has triggered the resulting thoughts and behaviours in their team members, which in turn has led to the results!

Being fully present and crystal clear in every conversation you have will have a dramatic effect on the results.

The real gems in learning come from doing the mirror work, it’s tougher but the short and long term growth will improve your performance and your relationships with everyone you interact with at home and in your professional life as well.

The achilles heel of Leadership

I’ve been reading a lot over the Christmas period and reflecting on 2013 and the various opportunities I’ve had when in coaching situations with leadership teams, the reading has helped consolidate my own reflections about what causes a team to become dysfunctional and more importantly how to create a high performing team and a sustainable winning culture.

Most organisations lose a lot of energy finger pointing, the senior team pointing at the middle managers and  the middle managers in turn pointing their finger at the rest of the staff within their team. It reminds me of the upper, middle and lower class sketch done with the 2 Ronnies and John Cleese some years ago and is played out on a daily basis within a lot of the blue chip companies I’ve had the privilege to work with over the past 14 years as a consultant/coach.

There’s a view that it’s someone else’s problem!  The senior leaders thinking that if it wasn’t for the middle managers and then in turn the same thought occurs with the middle managers thinking that if it wasn’t for their team, all would work smoothly. And then of course you have a majority of the lower levels of staff thinking that the middle managers and senior leaders don’t seem to have a clue as to what’s going on or how they should run the business!

The amount of lost hours given over to a lack of clarity around what is the most important thing to be focusing on and having a coherent message across all divisions of the company causes much of the chaos within most organisations. This is often referred to as the gun pointing inwards as opposed to them pointing out towards the enemy!

In Patrick Lencioni’s latest book “The Advantage” he talks about the 4 steps that you need to take to build and maintain a competitive edge, oddly enough we’ve been taking a very similar approach when working with our clients.

Step 1

Build a Cohesive Senior Team.

Sounds fairly simple! One of the key blockers to already having a cohesive team is the lack of trust, by far trust is the foundation where everything is built. When there is a lack of trust, you usually see team members defending their silo/division within the business. If another team member cannot trust a colleague, they cannot engage in healthy conflict enabling them to state their view of the world and know they’ve been listened to and heard properly.

A lack of conflict will impact on individual commitment and, in turn, will lead to a lack of accountability which finally, will have an impact on the result/goal you are pursuing.

Quick check

One of the most effective ways to check if a team is dysfunctional or not is to see whether there is clarity across all of the divisions within the organisation; is one team saying one thing and another the opposite?

A high performing team will usually have complete clarity around the direction of where the company is going and how they are going to get there, they also have an understanding of who is responsible for what and give each other feedback on any behaviours that are not in line with the core values of the business.

Steps 2,3 & 4 are all around creating a clear communication strategy and then repeating that consistently to ensure everyone in the organisation is hearing the same message or put another way, singing from the same hymn sheet.

The Corporate Buffalo

I’ve been meaning to write about this rare breed of leader for some time and now seems to be the right time to share my thoughts about “The Corporate Buffalo”.

Here’s a little about the Buffalo:-

Even in ranch environments, buffalo have retained their natural instincts for survival. They can weather storms and help their newborn calves survive in blizzards that would kill entire herds of cattle. Buffalo stand face first into the winter winds as the wind blows their hair down. They don’t turn their hindquarters into the wind, nor do they move with it. Their heavy winter coats provide all the protection they need from the bitter cold.

In the past 10 years I have been lucky enough to work with / coach 1,000’s of leaders and in all that time I have only come across a couple of leaders that I believe have similar strengths to the buffalo.

These individuals are senior leaders in the organisations they work in and have a deep sense of values that drive their decision making and are the sort of leader you would want to follow and go the extra mile for, because you know they are authentic.

The corporate buffalo values their team and has the ability to face the sometimes harsh storms that show up when there is a conflict of interest, when the old style of leadership attempts to get more from the business with fear and the big stick approach. The tools the corporate buffalo use are their powers to inspire & motivate individuals to take action because they have an ability to connect their teams to something bigger than just a job/salary. Their key is that they engage people emotionally, they demonstrate that they care and their team see this by the leaders actions when under pressure.

When the cold wind blows, most people naturally turn away and go with the flow but not the corporate buffalo, they stand and face the wind head on. This takes immense courage and is a key aspect to what inspires others around them, as they see their leader standing for something more than just the bottom line.

They have balance in the 3 core aspects of their lives, Self – Family & Work which is very rare nowadays!

Self 1st

This rare breed of leader is present and highly aware of the importance of taking care of themselves 1st, this is counter intuitive and might seem selfish, yet it’s the most important aspect of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Being comfortable in your own skin as a human and being OK with yourself warts and all, allows a solid base for you to develop the other aspect of EI which is being OK with others. So to be Emotionally Intelligent requires having a high Self Regard & a high Regard for Others, in transactional analysis terms it’s the      I’m OK, You’re OK stuff.

The corporate buffalo is someone who takes care of themselves and is aware of the importance of their health and wellbeing, these individuals look in the mirror and ask themselves the difficult questions about what role they are playing to create whatever is showing up in every aspect of their lives. They look at the results that are showing up personally and professionally and take 100% responsibility for it all, as they know that there is deep learning in taking this approach.

Family

Regarding their family lives, once again they have the presence of mind to be available when they are with their loved ones, too often, we forget that it’s the most important gift to be 100% available to our partners and children when we get home. The pace of corporate life has become so fast, that to stay ahead we fall into the trap of doing more hours at the cost of our own health and wellbeing and on top of that, our families suffer.

Once again, the corporate buffalo lives by their strong sense of values and makes certain that they attend the school plays or the important rugby match or netball game to cheer their children on. That stuff counts on so many levels and nourishes your soul knowing that you’ve made yourself available, with your phone switched off of course!

Work

At work they are so aware of the impact they have on everyone around them, not just their immediate team but everyone they interact with during their working day. They are acutely aware of subtle things like using their Blackberry whilst in a meeting and how that can switch others off if they are not fully present. They use their intuition and check for understanding if they sense people aren’t on board or engaged.

Their biggest strength is that they don’t buckle under pressure and change direction just to please their boss, they have the courage to say no when something doesn’t match their values or at least they will strongly challenge and come up with other options to find a better solution.

I look forward to your comments and hope you enjoy the video clip from the Rocky Balboa film which is a summary of how these people view life.