Rise Leaders Radio
#34 A Platform for Placemaking at Work: More Than A Cool Piece of Tech

#34 A Platform for Placemaking at Work: More Than A Cool Piece of Tech

February 22, 2021

“We have virtual real estate that makes you look and feel and act and behave as if you were in a real office. So it's not virtual reality, it's reality…the way my brain reacts and creates by changing the environment I’m in…my persona changes [while being] connected to colleagues around the world.” - Toni Portmann

Using Technology to Reduce Isolation and Build Trust
The corporate landscape in a global and post-COVID-19 world has presented many questions. One of the most important has been: How can we replicate company culture when almost no one is co-located? Though being able to work from home during a pandemic has helped boost productivity and open the talent pool beyond traditionally tight geographical lines, the issues of building culture has seen a less obvious solution.

Toni Portmann addresses this in the ingenuity that is Walkabout Workplace, a virtual reality platform encouraging positive work cultures based on human connections and place-making. It transports mind and body into the workplace through virtual real estate, simulating real-life – running into people in the hallway and having off-the-cuff banter, joining different rooms to chime in to conversations, and connecting to people in ways other than the constant Zoom meeting that reigns today.

In a world that’s moving away from commutes and increasingly going green, Toni explains how Walkabout Workplace addresses known challenges and offers additional benefits to the workplace and even to our communities.

[] “we’re not feeling connected to the world of work, or the world of community or the world of colleagues. In Walkabout, you can literally walk down the hall and drop in and have that five-minute conversation, get a question answered, say hi, have a cup of coffee, and literally feel like you're building a team.”

[18:40] "It brings us to a place ... I can log on in the morning and I and I see my colleagues... And, and who's like having stand ups...There are these times when people have either brainstorming meetings, or they're having stand ups. And that's one of the things that we're missing out on right now... unless you're invited to that conversation via a calendar, you don't even know what's going on. But from what I can tell... what I what I think will happen with Walkabout is that I can see where people are gathered. And I can just ask to join and that's part of the spontaneity of it... or someone that's in a brainstorming meeting might say, I think LeeAnn has the answer to this, let's see if we can pull her in here real quick. And they can just pull me in and release me instead of having to invite me to a meeting for 30 minutes to two hours or however that that's going to be. So for me, those are some of my favorite attributes is that it really does give a way for that spontaneity to happen."

[19:15] “It's also wicked secure. …we’ve got to be really careful of privacy of protection. We do unbelievable encryption inside the video. We also emit unbelievable encryption inside the chat channels, so that when we're having this conversation, we're encrypting within the video channel itself.”

[30:08] “Talent acquisition will change dramatically with this new accessibility…I'm no longer relegated to what my zip code is, what school I went to, or what transit I can get on. So now I can be a candidate for hire, or I can be a productive contributing employee.”

Connect to Toni Portmann:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/toni-portmann-53b454/

Walkabout Workplace
https://walkaboutworkplace.com/

The Power of Virtual Distance:
https://bookshop.org/a/16835/9781119608592

Hooked on Code:
https://hookedoncode.com/about

To subscribe to the Rise Leaders newsletter for more resources: https://mailchi.mp/426e78bc9538/subscribe

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit:
https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

#33 Putting Your Values Into Action | Jerry Magar

#33 Putting Your Values Into Action | Jerry Magar

February 9, 2021

“What values can do both for individuals and organizations is provide a sense of stability, a sense of continuity, and to provide something to cling to that is timeless and changeless in a world where everything seems to be changing.” - Jerry Magar

 

It’s the beginning of a new year, and you’re likely setting goals and taking inventory in many areas of your life. As you navigate a new year full of new potentially challenging decisions, your values can act as your compass, providing a north star.

 

There are many benefits to animating your values in daily life. Keeping them top of mind helps align your actions with your values. This sense of living authentically results in an inner peace - and walking your talk will resonate with others. In other words, your consistency and authenticity breeds trust with others.

 

Jerry shares exercises that help others identify their values as well as how to live them through actions each day.

 

To Your Own Values Be True

[13:03] “About the typical approach that’s used … what happens sometimes with circling [from a list of values] is that we end up circling things that look alluring or look like we should circle them. And then we end up lugging this value around, ultimately judging ourselves for not living up to it or not activating in a way that we thought was appropriate.”

 

Rather than choosing values from a list, reveal them from your own lived experiences.

 

Look Through the Lens of Your Values

[24:53] “I still use this practice. On a weekly basis, I sit down, and I look at the week ahead. And I think about, not just the intellectual organization of what's going on, but I look at it through the lens of my values. And I asked the question, how, how are you going to activate these values next week?”

 

Pledge to find opportunities to incorporate your values in your life and work. Let them guide you day-to-day.

 

Use Your Values as Fuel

[39:52] “It goes back to that idea of a value only matters if it is turned into action at T minus zero, the moment of impact, right? That if that doesn't turn into behavior, or turn into a decision or turn into action, it's meaningless…I see people speak to their faith. I am in no way suggesting that that shouldn't be a value. The problem is when we leave it at faith. Well, what does that really mean? And what does that look like when you're applying that value?”

 

Values have the potential to shape our actions and create meaningful impact.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

https://www.billgeorge.org/true-north/

https://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-True-North-Fieldbook/dp/111910355X

 

Connect with Jerry Magar:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerrymagar/

https://jerrymagar.com/

#32. Speak Up, Stand Up | Dr. Chris Johnson on Becoming Fierce

#32. Speak Up, Stand Up | Dr. Chris Johnson on Becoming Fierce

December 22, 2020

Can your voice be heard?  Is your value being recognized?

Dr. Chris Johnson has joined me again in this episode to discuss a foundational leadership capability:  the ability to speak up about the value we personally bring to our work.  Our conviction is contagious and compelling, inspiring others to trust and believe in us as well.

 

You need to be able to take a stand. Extend your voice. Be pointedly focused on what you offer and the vision that you have, in order to impact the people that you say you want to impact.” - Dr. Chris Johnson

Confidence and the mind-body connection

Dr. Chris Johnson has joined me again in this episode to discuss a foundational leadership capability:  the ability to speak up about the value we personally bring to our work.  Our conviction is contagious and compelling, inspiring others to trust and believe in us as well.

Earlier, in episode #21, I reviewed the importance of recognizing and owning the value we bring to our work. This value will remain hidden if we're not able to confidently give voice to it.  And the way we carry ourselves is inextricably linked to it all. Chris draws from her years of embodied leadership and martial arts practice to create a commanding presence while also staying calm and centered. She shares her insights on how to expand your presence and self-awareness to ultimately project your inner strength and achieve your goals.

The tangible impact:  missed opportunities

[1:30] “The challenge about speaking up shows up in multiple ways…The most common are not sharing good ideas or opinions during meetings, not being able to promote themselves and their team. In avoiding conflict, staying silent or small leads to being undervalued and overlooked, and ultimately, to a lack of fulfillment, and possibly frustration.”

[32:44] “I'd get pulled in to take on leadership roles, and yet never fully owned them. And that was because I didn't know if I knew enough, I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings. I didn't want anybody else to feel bad if I happen to do something really well. And all of that was a story that I told myself, and then it took residence in my body. I was very narrow, and small, my energy was very constrained.”

Centering in our body, our vision, and in action

[23:00] ] “We can either close in and hunker down…Or we can choose to learn a very simple skill and practice of centering. And by that, we mean centering in the body, relaxed…and then centering in something bigger than us, even if we don't know what that is. And lastly, centering in an action that we can then take. And once we can learn that simple practice (because you have to practice it). Pretty soon that practice starts to reshape us…

“What matters is that we’re intentional. It’s based on what we care about, and that we’re consistently in deliberate practice.”

 

[29:00] “I like to say it's tolerating the discomfort at the edges because it's at the edges that literally, our neurobiology gets rewired. Hang out there in the discomfort for at least a little bit longer. Every time we do it, we're growing new pathways that allow us to expand our capacity.”

Speaking about our accomplishments or sharing our thoughts in a meeting may bring physical sensations. We have to practice tolerating this discomfort though it feels unnatural. With time we grow accustomed to it.

 

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Power of Pause in the Mindful Leader magazine:

https://bit.ly/3ixw9wV

Episode 21: Owning Your Value | Key Elements for Authenticity and Personal Power:

https://bit.ly/3sGO0pT

A Guide to Owning Your Value:

https://bit.ly/3sJajLn

To connect to Dr. Chris Johnson please follow:

https://bit.ly/3sN2lkj

https://bit.ly/3qL3s2r

Dr. Chris on Resilience: https://bit.ly/3sOiiXs

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit:

https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

#31. What’s Your Cathedral Story?

#31. What’s Your Cathedral Story?

December 8, 2020

Are you completing a task or working towards a bigger vision?  If you have a Cathedral Story, your work, your goals – your life will have more meaning.

As the co-founder of Intrizen, Jonathan Haberkorn specializes in making sense of complex processes and organizing them in a way that emphasizes human interactions first.  By prioritizing the people who will be using the system and through promoting connections, Jonathan’s purpose fuels his craft.

 

If we're going to spend the majority of our time doing work, there's got to be a good reason and meaning behind it. That’s where the shift is. When you do land on where you feel like you're in line with your purpose, it is easier to see the impacts, and you become a servant of that.”
- Jonathan Haberkorn

Start with purpose

Charging you work with purpose endows you with a greater sense of congruence between your professional and personal lives. Work then goes beyond the transactional aspects; supporting a life of intention and of fulfilling the promise of your potential.

As the cofounder of Intrizen, Jonathan Haberkorn specializes in making sense of complex HR processes and organizing them in a way that emphasizes human interaction first. By prioritizing the people using the system and the process of promoting connections, he relies on purpose to fuel his craft.

The Cornerstone of The Cathedral Story is our Orientation

[13:41] “The bricklayer said, ‘I’m a bricklayer, I’m working hard to make money so I can feed my family.’ The second bricklayer said, ‘I’m a builder, I’m building a wall.’ And then the third guy says, ‘I’m a cathedral builder, I’m building a cathedral where people will worship.’ … Basically, they’re doing the same job, but the context and the orientation that they’re doing it with changes everything.
“When we see how the work that we’re doing is going to be used, what’s the long term and even the multiplier impact it can have, it really changes. It changes the quality of our work.”

We can approach our work as a series of tasks or as a meaningful part of a greater vision with many ripples.

Purpose keeps us centered and whole

[24:35] “So knowing that things don't always go to plan more times than not, and there're deviations that happen, what's our response to that? How are we going to react to it? We have the different ways we can react to it, we can be conscious about the way we're thinking and kind of deal with it and handle it and give perspective around it.”

[28:45] “I used to think, okay, this is work, and then there's home life…there's definitely different aspects of life. But once I've really found my purpose, and have completely aligned to that, it all seems like one life to me. It's all intertwining with each other.”
Purpose gives a perspective that transcends the silos of life.

Links to Intrizen and Jonathan Haberkorn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanhaberkorn/
www.intrizen.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/weareintrizen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeAreIntrizen/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/weareintrizen/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WeAreIntrizen

To subscribe to the Rise Leaders newsletter for more resources: https://mailchi.mp/426e78bc9538/subscribe

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit:
https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

#30. Local Economy Multipliers | Michael H. Shuman

#30. Local Economy Multipliers | Michael H. Shuman

December 1, 2020

Shop local is a mantra we’re hearing – and hopefully practicing – more often these days. Did you know we can also invest local? Michael H. Shuman is an expert in local economies. He’s a lawyer, economist, entrepreneur, author and activist when it comes to local. We cover the positive social and economic impact of local investment and talk about challenges and new solutions local business owners face. Hint: those that innovate – teaming up with like-minded small businesses in their vicinity, crowdsourcing, engaging their customers – are more likely to thrive.

Finally, the ability to invest in local businesses through self-directed IRAs and solo 401(K)s is becoming easier and provides a bridge between investors and local business owners.

 

“Local businesses spend more of their money locally, and with those local relationships, what happens is that money stays in the economy. And you get the multiplier effect, which generates more income, wealth and jobs.”

– Michael H. Shuman, Director,

Neighborhood Associates Corporation

 

The symbiosis between local business and their neighborhood

[10:06] “Regression analysis of communities across the United States [shows] that in those communities with the highest density of locally owned business, there’s the highest per capita job growth rate. And another study from the Federal Reserve in 2013 shows that when you look at counties across the United States and those counties with the highest density of locally owned business, there's the highest per capita income growth rate.”

[11:03] “They are part of [communities] through volunteering, working through schools, supporting schools, etc. And it shows that in communities with a high density of locally owned business, there are higher rates of volunteership higher rates of voting, higher rates of engagement, and charities, higher rates of social stability.”

Strength in numbers

[12:46] “My biggest piece of advice to a local business proprietor is, stop acting alone, you don't have the bandwidth to do everything you need to do to succeed. What you do need to do is bring in partners…partners in your ownership. I would bring in some of your customers as co-owners of your business, and also as helpers in the decision-making of your business.”

[28:16] “It's pretty hard for one local business, especially a small one to take this initiative on his or her own. But if you have a collection of 20, or 50, or 100, businesses working together, these are problems that can be solved. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an invitation to local businesses who've been struggling to think about how to pursue their business model a little bit differently, a little bit more collaboratively.”

Female and minority-owned businesses are setting new standards

[16:18] "What we've seen with investment crowdfunding is that half million Americans put about $370 million into 1500 businesses. The most disproportionately successful businesses have been those run by women and people of color, those are the ones who have welcomed in grassroots ownership, grassroots partners. And also it represents the people who were locked out of the conventional capital markets. All of these outgroups are innovating in a different and exciting way."

 

Michael H. Shuman's website and more resources:

https://michaelhshuman.com/

https://twitter.com/smallmart

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelHShuman

 

By purchasing through Bookshop you'll support local, independent bookstores. Rise Leaders is an affiliate and may benefit from your purchase.

Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: 

https://bit.ly/3oevBNL

The Local Economy Solution: 

https://bit.ly/3o65c4u

Local Investing Groups & LIONs:

https://bit.ly/397Js45

Interview with Turn's founder Lauren Clarke:

https://bit.ly/3o0sx7C

Rise Leaders' newsletter:

https://mailchi.mp/426e78bc9538/subscribe

#29. How to Own Your Attention | Seth Braun

#29. How to Own Your Attention | Seth Braun

November 24, 2020

Our attention is in demand.  It’s up to us to know how to keep it focused on what matters most so that we spend more time enjoying what’s in front of us:  other humans, nature, pets, art, etc.  Managing our attention also provides a pathway for bringing our unique gifts to the world. Join me and Seth Braun as we explore the grander implications of Attention Management and a few strategies for living and working with intention.

 

“This isn't just about squeezing more productivity out of the machine…we get discouraged, disheartened, and we give up on the things that are important to us. So one of the most important things that I see in this is to come back to what's important to me.”

– Seth Braun 
Stagen Leadership Academy

Mindful Life, Better Living

Today we have more distractions than perhaps at any time in history, with our attention bought and sold as a commodity; our electronic devices tempting us with the promise of instant gratification. With so much vying for our attention, the question becomes: How can we navigate life in a way that’s meaningful, purposeful, and creative?

Attention management is a set of practices and habits that helps us increase the time we’re present, minimize distractions, and find flow. There are 4 zones to engage in: proactive, reactive, distraction, and waste. This week Seth Braun discusses Stagen's Attention Zones model and how being mindful of these states can help us plan for and allocate time effectively. Ultimately it can help us bring our unique gifts to the world by engaging in life in a satisfying and productive way. 

Beware the Distraction and Waste Zones

[9:59] “I'm not going to tell you that Netflix is a distraction. Consider: what in your life is a distraction - and what's rejuvenating? There are certain things that I do in my family, like watching Netflix, where we laugh, and we have endorphins, and it’s rejuvenating, and it's family time. It's great. But then, where I start binge-watching and it's 11. Then it's 12…now I'm in a waste zone.”
A “lazy” activity isn’t always considered wasteful by default. Sometimes it’s what we need. However, there’s a point of diminishing returns, and we must consider the balance.

[19:20] “Most of us don’t come into the world highly disciplined, able to sit down and do the work. We need structures and practices to help us do that, including your 10-minute waste time.”
Even “wasteful” time has its place in preparing you to be proactive.

Be Guided by Your Ideals

Generally, anything in the proactive zone (with focused work) doesn’t come naturally and requires an act of volition.
[19:50] “Any act of creation or volition, whether it involves anything involving exercise or starting a business. Anything that's…creative is going to have resistance.”
[33:30] “The most important thing we can do to live a fulfilling, satisfying life is (to) have an ideal. Keep track of it each week, when we're planning our week, say, here's what's important to me, and I'm willing to go forward again.”

To learn more about Seth Braun and the Stagen Leadership Institute please visit:
https://stagen.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sethdbraun/

Stagen's Attention Management Core Practice Sheet
https://rise-leaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Stagen-Attention-Management-Core-Practice-Sheet.pdf

Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography:
https://amzn.to/396UaaS

“In Over Our Heads” - Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey
https://amzn.to/2M792wV

To subscribe to the Rise Leaders newsletter for more resources: https://mailchi.mp/426e78bc9538/subscribe

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit: https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.

#28. A High Integrity Coaching Ecosystem | LeeAnn Mallory + Jerry Magar

#28. A High Integrity Coaching Ecosystem | LeeAnn Mallory + Jerry Magar

November 18, 2020

I called in a lifeline for this one.  I wanted to talk about the importance of a supportive ecosystem when engaging in leadership coaching and didn’t like what I was producing on my own.  So when my esteemed colleague, Jerry Magar, offered to interview me, I gladly accepted. And he delivered!

 

"The pressure and expectation of organizational leadership demand emotional maturity, requiring leaders to be willing to do their internal work…we all must move away from leading from a place of fear and lack…and move toward vision and collaboration, which results in desired and sustainable outcomes."
- LeeAnn Mallory, Founder
Rise Leaders

 

The tables got turned during this episode, and I was interviewed by Jerry Magar, a wonderful friend and colleague. He was my lifeline! Listen to find out why...

Two decades of coaching insights

Leadership coaching has become increasingly common in organizations. Because it’s a significant financial investment, it’s worth knowing what to expect and how to maximize the experience. Being aware of the situations that could benefit from coaching, and knowing the potential pitfalls before beginning, are useful to walking in confidently and ensuring it’s a rich, seamless process.

The value of coaching

The more responsibility a leader gains and the broader the scope of their leadership, the more important that they're able to develop and maintain meaningful positive relationships across the organization and outside the organization, as well as think strategically and execute against that strategy.
Leaders will hire a coach as they step into new and unfamiliar assignments and also as they face the inevitable bumps in the road. Having access to unbiased wisdom from outside the organization can provide a lifeline during times of transition and chaos. While they intuit the need to raise their awareness and increase their ability to respond to complex issues, the necessary feedback and support are often hard to come by.

A Wholehearted Approach 

 Most important to a successful coaching engagement is a motivated client who is committed to doing the work and has a learning or growth mindset. The work will be intense at times and will require courage and humility.

To subscribe to the Rise Leaders newsletter for more resources:

 https://mailchi.mp/426e78bc9538/subscribe

To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit: 

https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

To contact Jerry Magar:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerrymagar/
Website: http://jerrymagar.com/about-jerry-magar/

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you.  https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

Remember...Elevate Your Part of the World!

#27. Offering Goodness, Truth + Beauty | Sofiya Deva, This Same Sky

#27. Offering Goodness, Truth + Beauty | Sofiya Deva, This Same Sky

November 3, 2020

Sofiya Deva didn’t waver from her commitment to launch a new business, This Same Sky, even in the face of a pandemic.  She was unwilling to turn away from any of her ‘loves’ – of beauty, for supporting multi-generational artisans, ethical and sustainable fashion and her self-described geeky love of strategy and business.  I believe Jim Collins would give her an A+ in building a business with a clear Core Ideology (Vision, Purpose, Values).  

 

“We have a twofold purpose: On one hand, supporting the artisans and preserving their traditions. On the other hand, we’re trying to inspire a more intentional lifestyle for our consumers…that is more fulfilling and authentic.” - Sofiya Deva,

Founder and CEO of This Same Sky

Integrating your passions, strengths, and purpose

Not only did Sofiya Deva launch her brand, This Same Sky, in the middle of the pandemic, but she managed to masterfully integrate her loves and strengths. The company focuses on artisan-centered rotating collections of personal and home accessories, but it’s also a social enterprise that earns these multicultural artists an exceptional livelihood. Her purpose is to preserve traditional arts and crafts and remind us that we can’t forget the irrefutable value art can bring into our lives, - even in an era where minimalism is gaining traction.
One of the other passions the brand draws from? Poetry. The inspiration for the company name comes from a book of poetry of the same name. Everyone under “this same sky” lends to the sense of solidarity, that we’re all in this together. Profiling different artistic lifestyle pieces, it celebrates the distinctiveness of cultural differences while affirming a sense of unity.

When less is more, choose intentionally

[17:47] “My subtle critique to sustainability in the present moment is we have a lot of emphasis on minimalism, and less clutter, which is great, but…I think if we just negate and eliminate, without tapping into a greater sense of who we are, a greater sense of where we come from, it's incomplete for me.”

As consumers, we’re always voting with our dollars one way or the other. We understand not amassing possessions just to have them. But let’s also choose wisely, bringing things with beauty and life into our home.

The changing landscape of fashion

[25:51] “[The fashion industry] is in need of reform. But the great thing is that consumers are demanding that reform, so I think the brands that are going to deliver that reform have a competitive advantage in terms of being more desirable by consumers.”
[27:59] “Being born in the middle of a pandemic, it's forced us to be even scrappier than we would have ordinarily been, and very adaptable and very agile - and to really think through, how can we create? How can we create a diverse and flexible business model?...We leaned into collaboration and how to create win-win scenarios.”

Balance passion and self-care

[34:03] “As an entrepreneur, you have to take burnout very seriously. You have to recognize that you're not immune to burnout; you don't have infinite energy and resources. I've had some really good coaches who have helped me recognize that, actually, my energy is a really valuable resource in this project, and I need to guard it.”

As Sofiya says, it’s important to engage intentionally and assess priorities so you’re able to follow through.

Connect with Sofiya:
LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/3p5B36M
Social handle: @thissamesky
Twitter - https://bit.ly/393avxo

Other mentions
This Same Sky by Naomi Shihab Nye - https://amzn.to/2MgrAe0
Guide to Reading Poetry - https://bit.ly/2Mc4G7I
Vickery Trading - https://vickerytrading.org/
Forbes article on Corporate Gifting: https://bit.ly/2Y1CkQh

Sudara - https://www.sudara.org/
Olivela - https://www.olivela.com/
Wolf and Badger - https://www.wolfandbadger.com/us/

Guide to Owning Your Value - https://bit.ly/3sJajLn

#26. A Vaccine Against Closed-Mindedness | Jay G. Cone PhD

#26. A Vaccine Against Closed-Mindedness | Jay G. Cone PhD

October 27, 2020

Jay Gordon Cone Ph.D. has decades under his belt working with leadership teams to build successful strategies and navigate challenging times. These days he is also focusing his considerable intellectual horsepower and passion on creating a “vaccine against mind traps and closed-mindedness”.

Jay believes if we can boost our immunity to chaos, we can respond with creativity and compassion rather than paralysis and tribalism.  Join us as we talk about bias, quicksand questions, and four disciplines for getting unstuck.

“If we were able to have a more productive approach to uncertainty and ambiguity, we actually might find responses that make things better. But we want the easy answer. And it's our fascination with the easy answer, actually, that prolongs the chaos.”
- Jay G. Cone

Overcoming thinking traps

We often find ourselves stuck - both individually and collectively - as a result of chaos, uncertainty, and unpredictability. In such times, it’s common to gravitate toward the easy answer, regardless if it’s the best way forward. When we fall into these thinking traps, we may oversimplify the problem to create a simple solution. This need for closure creates hasty action plans that can entrench you further into the problem - getting your mind “stuck.”

Today Jay outlines tips for avoiding thinking traps and nurturing an “unstuck” mind that’s open to new possibilities. Much of it begins with knowing the right questions to ask (avoiding “What should I do?”) to forge a new way forward. Being able to adaptively respond to uncertainty is helpful, because expertise and learning from the past doesn’t necessarily provide a fail-proof roadmap for the future.

The importance of building mental stamina

[10:10] “[In chaos] the only responses that we have are based in the limbic system in the amygdala, and we want to fight or we want to flee. But if we can develop our stamina for thinking, when things are complicated or uncertain or ambiguous, then we're not as susceptible to the same ideas and…closed mindedness and tribalism, that tends to paralyze us.”
[21:04] “And when you start focusing on simplistic answers, then you tend to hang out with people who have gravitated towards those same simplistic responses. And it gets to the point where it's just too difficult to be open to new information, different perspectives, or to continue processing things.”

How to know you’re stuck

[12:06] “One very common experience … you're really not clear on why it is that you can't achieve this goal. You make up all these reasons for why this attempt failed…So if a pattern emerges, there's a good chance that there's something more to be uncovered.”
[16:44] “If someone expressed a point of view…and all of a sudden [you] have horrible judgments…if that’s a feeling you’re having, and it’s one you’re not particularly proud of or that doesn’t make sense to you, that might be a leading indicator of stuckness as well.”

Identify quicksand questions

[25:00] “One of the things that you can look at is the way people pose questions because the way people frame a question about a situation they want to change reveals a lot about how they're thinking and feeling.”
[28:16] “All these things that we want other people to do, we just frame a question around them and we work toward altering the behavior - rather than trying to understand whether we as leaders, organizations, are complicit and whether there’s something other than their behavior that needs to change.”

Get in touch with Jay Cone:
https://bit.ly/35ZVSZE

Resources:
Blog: https://bit.ly/2NivMuo
Free Assessment:

https://bit.ly/2LWZRzg
https://unstuckminds.com/

Blindspots (book) Hidden Biases of Good People:

https://amzn.to/3642S7T

Rise Leaders newsletter for more resources: 

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To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation, please visit:

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#25. The Leadership Pause | Dr. Chris Johnson

#25. The Leadership Pause | Dr. Chris Johnson

October 20, 2020

Dr. Chris Johnson’s background combines psychology, Aikido (she’s a 3rd degree Black Belt!) and mindfulness training.  The result is a powerful and pragmatic approach for moving wisdom into action.  We talk about Embodied Leadership and the importance of creating a Leadership Pause habit.

 

“Embodied leadership has an edge over anything conventional, because it allows us to access all of who we are…rationally, cognitively, analytically, our capacity for empathy, and to take effective action based on sound decisions that we tune into that are congruent with our values.” – Dr. Chris Johnson

Physical awareness leads to authenticity and better decision-making

The world is becoming more Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. For today’s leaders to stay ahead of the accelerated pace of change, it’s important to inspire trust and confidence in those with whom they work. Embodied Leadership practices help us achieve this.

Leadership is often approached in a cognitive-first or “top-down” manner: first working to understand the skill, infusing emotional intelligence, and then acting in accordance with that knowledge. Conversely, embodied leadership draws from bodily awareness. In other words, shifting focus to the physical being to open up, relax, and in turn, create space mentally. Tuning into physical sensations and sensory experiences can center us. This nurtures a connection between body and mind that enables congruence and authenticity between mind and actions.

It starts with a pause

[13:16] “It might be a momentary pause, where I step back, take a breath, and in that breath, I can see and observe what's going on between you and I, and I can feel into myself, like what's congruent with my own values here, I can actually look at the broader horizon of work.

[13:46] “A pause could be momentary, it could be short pause to create a deliberate practice of mindfulness. It could be a weekend pause… Those are the things we often think we don’t have time for, and we hit that point of diminishing returns.
“Reminding ourselves and taking that pause to say, ‘What’s the bigger commitment, what’s the bigger vision?’ Align around that instead of getting sucked into the details.”
 

Clear mind, clear path forward

 [22:16] “This is where mindfulness also comes in to help. When there's a lot of chatter [in the mind], it's really difficult to be clear-headed, clear-eyed, and clear-hearted about what's the most important. There’s a quote by Lao Tzu – ‘Can you be patient enough to let the mud settle so the right answer can arise?’…
“If we intentionally create the space, and if we commit to it, as a part of the leadership pause, it can allow all of that mud to settle. So that whatever shows up in this moment, as the next right action is the one we see and can move toward.”

Take care of yourself - and see a ripple effect

[10:33] “Organizations and businesses of all sizes reflect their leaders. When your energy is high, and your actions are congruent with your words, your presence produces trust…While you can't erase the uncertainty your organization and people are facing, you do have the power to respond to their challenges with intention, integrity, and honesty.”
[30:15] “Awareness is key for all leaders who are aspiring to lead in this VUCA world and be really present to the craziness and how to stay present in it - and maybe even enjoy the ride.”

Resources:
The Power of Pause in the Mindful Leader:
https://bit.ly/3ixw9wV

Episode 21: Owning Your Value:
https://bit.ly/3sGO0pT

A Guide to Owning Your Value
https://bit.ly/3sJajLn

To connect to Dr. Chris Johnson please follow:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/drchrisljohnson/
https://q4-consulting.com/

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To discuss executive coaching, leadership development program design, and workshop facilitation:
https://rise-leaders.com/contact-info/

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