Again this week, I thank you for being here! Since I began my professional career in 1993, I’ve spoken with many leaders and experienced firsthand many of the leadership concepts. Today, we know that according to Harvard University, more than 63% of leaders believe that their leadership training wasn’t useful and wasn’t actionable. We also know that 54% of leaders struggle to bridge the gap between innovation and business strategy (*PWC).
Shorter learning times, changing situations where promises must be broken and kept without diminishing trust, and realigning the entire organization to the new strategy within weeks rather than months are just some of the new world challenges to achieving greater “enterprise agility.”
In times of exponential market change and great uncertainty, leading others is a journey of learning to lead yourself and unlearning how to control others.
When we developed the M-Leadership Framework last year and applied the new science to leadership, we found that many of the existing ideas about how to lead an organization have changed since markets accelerated as a result of artificial intelligence and competing companies using short work cycles.
Many of the paradigms of servant leadership and other leadership styles from Agile training around the world or the Business Agility Institute are critical to how we as leaders work with others, but they aren’t sufficient for the current market and situation.
That’s why we’re not only working to provide new leaders with innovative ideas and solutions, but also some of our colleagues who’re contributing with their experience to find new ways of doing things. This includes understanding how to lead when everything is changing, no longer monthly or weekly, but every day or every hour.
I’m pleased to share in this issue an article by Dr. Arthie Moore-Robberts about the power of unlearning and how to recognize what things you need to unlearn and have compassion for yourself.
I hope this article provides new, actionable ideas for your career and for you to go beyond Agile and Business Agility!
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Are you ready to take your career to the next level? We’ll continue our Enterprise Agility Foundations and EA Strategic Leadership Training around the world in August. Join the leading institution providing leaders, managers, and change consultants with new opportunities to grow their careers. Talk to one of our Certified Partners now and start moving in a new direction.
Where do we end up in life if we allow our thoughts to flow so freely, that they begin to control our words, actions and ultimately, our habits? I am fascinated as I watch how my mind gives me options for EVERY scenario, I experience.
It does not matter if it is mundane or mind-blowing. My brain will conspire to work out all the avenues for me to choose from…and normally, it gives me the worst-case scenario first! Now really! How is it possible that I allowed my brain to become accustomed to the worst-case scenario first?
Simple really…I was never taught the skill in school, that words become actions, actions become habits and habits become our destiny….as paraphrased by the great–Mr Mahatma Ghandi.
I had to unlearn the very things I took for granted. Many ask me, “how do you know what you need to unlearn, if you don’t even know you are stuck?” Easy, I reply. I ask questions. I think that introspection and reflection are not given enough importance in our learnings, teachings or understandings.
We go through life believing unconditionally, that what we are being taught is true, because “THEY” said so… Who are they, you ask? Your parents, your schooling system, media, propaganda, news, reporters, facilitators, companies, policies, rules, procedures, governments, wars, control, your family, your partner, your exes, your experiences, the things you read, what you listen to, your beliefs, your programming and the list can go on!
The question then remains, “how do you know what you need to unlearn, if you don’t know?”.
I think that the earliest memory, is a conversation I had when I was 8 years old. I was being counselled by a social worker, for abuse that was occurring at home. Whilst we waited for the psychologist to see me, she sat with me and just chatted. But there was warmth and love in her words that seeped past the hurt within my little heart, so I listened intently to her and what she was saying. I remember that moment SO vividly.
She said, “It was not your fault. What happened to you, you did not deserve. What you do deserve, is the BEST!” A simple statement that cemented itself into my sub conscious mind. I did not know what it meant, but I knew it had to do with the best. In my own baby way, I took that into the depth of my Soul and held onto it as my Ray of Hope in the dark abyss I found myself in. The light at the end of the Tunnel. The belief that the pain I was enduring would end…..eventually. I was 8 years old.
I LEARNT that I deserved the best. Whatever that looked like. But here’s the thing though. I cemented that into my heart, my mind and my Soul. It became the compass that guided me. It was her words, that planted the thought that somewhere along the line, the pain will end and I will feel better. My brain began to believe, “that this too shall pass”.
I held onto those words and began to read voraciously. I endured many more years of pain, hurt and trauma at the hands of a sexual abuser, as well as the hatred and anger of family and the tormenting bullying of peers who believed that I had brought this upon myself and deserved it.
I was lost with real-life experiences that were molding my behaviour as I withdrew into a shell of self-protection, became a book worm and introvert, but still felt like something was missing. I think the pivotal point of this story, is that a sentence planted by the right person at the right time, became my foundation of strength. As I experienced life, I was creating coping mechanisms and it was beginning to add to my personality, my mistrust of people, my low self-esteem and anxiety.
How was I supposed to unlearn? As I navigated through life, I began to see patterns in my interactions with people. I became curious. I wanted to learn, understand, create, conquer and so much more. It all began with another amazing statement by an Art teacher, when I was 13 years old.
He handed me a camera and said this, “You see the world through the lens of your own choosing. Every photo you take, is the beauty that YOU capture. You always have control!” That alone was astounding as a thought, let alone a belief to embody into my very being. But here’s the thing. I was so moved emotionally by that statement, that I fell in love with Nature in such a powerful way. It became my healing journey to embrace as a no-brainer approach. Photography and Nature. The two constants in my life that would always be there. Nature – the unconditional love I sought, became my definition of what I saw through those lenses.
So, if a thought of hope and positivity can be created from the sentences, intentions and guidance of kind-hearted people, then it makes sense, that the things we listen to, the people we surround ourselves with and what we read, has the potential to teach us what we need to learn. If that is the key, then we become awakened to a different state of believing that we deserve more.
I think the crucial learning here, is that it allows us to have choice then. We can reflect deeply and carefully about the thoughts that never served us…question it and then discard or heal the impact it had on our lives thus far. That is how we unlearn what we were programmed to believe. When we are presented with an alternative. But there is a balance to this approach that we need for it to work. We need to be open to receive.
My life was filled with incredible moments, but I still felt empty inside because I had yet to encounter the reality of what self-love and self-forgiveness was. Yet, the seeds planted by two people, stuck in my head. It became the headliner thoughts in the serious moments when I fell into a deep, dark depression during my teenage years and had suicidal thoughts. That’s the power of unlearning. It is the ability to embrace. To question and explore. How is this relevant to me now as an Adult? I am on a journey of self-discovery every single day. I catch my thoughts, work out why I felt triggered and work on myself.
It’s about choice. Your symptoms as seen in your body, mind, behaviour and actions are merely a reflection of the thoughts stored deep in your subconscious mindset. Work on the Cause…and watch how your symptoms disappear. You will definitely feel lighter in your spirit, upgraded in your sense of self-worth and happier as a person. No longer seeking approval of others. You will always win, because you grow your knowledge, become an encourager and see Hope in most situations. You become more determined and solution focussed.
If I look at the corporate culture or business environment, the norm is that we throw people into positions that are defined by rules, regulations, policies, procedures, outcomes and deliverables designed in the favour of the bottom line, not the human being. Yet we forgot the one crucial piece of the puzzle. The mindset of the person we expect to fulfill that role. People were never the priority. Filling the role was.
In our quest for success as defined by companies and societal beliefs, we missed out the part where we should have given people the ability to connect with themselves first. Understanding their own thinking, why they act, behave and interact in the way they do. Help them know themselves, before forcing them to play nice with others.
We have NO idea how triggered they become by the actions and habits of others in their personal space. Yet we demand it. Sad reality and that is why there is posturing, bullying, intimidation, anger, conflict, lack of respect and a disconnect in the whole organisation or even in your own home. Have you ever stopped to think of it from that perspective? Mind-blowing really.
This is exactly what people are demanding in the workplace when we approach the idea of Leading vs Managing, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Team building, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Resolution and so much more. These topics became relevant because we never stopped long enough to understand the Human Experience that everyone is experiencing through their own lens, thoughts, beliefs, habits and conditioning. Is it surprising then, that most people are overwhelmed, depressed, burnt out, and needing self-care now, more than ever?
Have you noticed that Coaching and Mentoring is now the new method for engaging with individuals and groups? That is because the process allows for deep dives into mindsets. Challenging and realigning thinking. Allowing people, the space to really reflect on their reality and work out what needs to be unlearnt. They come up with accountability for their new way to learn by implementing SMART goals and action steps. Look at how effective that is!
So, it makes sense that content as WELL as context, becomes the next major topic to delve into.
If we are going to challenge people to adjust their mindset, we need to guide them on HOW to sustain that change and continue to grow by becoming life-long learners. We need to accelerate their love of engaging with new thoughts. We need to build a Vision. That is where your Thought Leaders play such a stunning role.
This leads to innovation. A strategy that is inclusive. Communication that is open. Trust that is unlimited. Love that is unconditional. Joy that is ever-present. Guidance that is always available. Respect that is Universal in approach. Understanding that is your foundation. Leadership, that makes sense.
Question everything and more than that…use curiosity as your go-to guide in life. Become curious about things you always wondered about. Explore. Entice new moments into your life. Actively and intentionally set your life up to create memories. Celebrate every moment you walk this Earth and KNOW, that you too, deserve the best!
After all…as I always say… “Never come down to someone else’s level, bring them up to yours. But if you are not evolving, what are you bringing them up?” I wish for you, dear reader, absolute compassion as you seek the compass that will guide the next steps of your journey! Until the next time, take care and have fun!
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From Enterprise Agility University, we hope you found our scientific newsletter useful, and we’ll see you next week.