Have you ever noticed that top level executives and overworked power players
often seek out spiritual leaders and coaches for advice, but the reverse is never true? Why is that? What do the monks have that the executives seem to be missing? These men don’t collect money, personal possessions, or status. They do not command large
organizations, draw huge crowds, source money from investors, or aspire to hold high ranking positions. They do, however, seem to have access to something far more
valuable: They have peace, they have perspective, they can lead and people are happy to
follow. They possess the ultimate freedom which seems so elusive to many of us.
What these men know, and more importantly practice, is that in order to find your
path you must be willing, and able, to put down many of the burdens that high-powered
business people carry. Many executives and decision makers are reluctant to delegate or
outsource to partners who will remove low-priority tasks from their plates. By holding on
to these low-value tasks, one cannot be free to focus on mission, vision, and goals. One
cannot work on their organization while also working in it.
How can your company thrive if you as the leader do not trust those whom you have hired to support you? A large part of delegation is demonstrating to your subordinates that you trust them to carry the load. If no one in your organization can carry a particular load, the smart play is to outsource. You are not the expert in everything, nor should you be. Why not bring in those people who are experts to remove those items from your plate so you can have space and time to lead?
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless
you are too busy; then you should sit for a hour” ~ Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon
This quote is one of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard. I realize that your
mind may have gone to, “I don’t even have twenty minutes to eat lunch, how on earth
will I find that much time to sit and do nothing?” If that is your reality, then we have just
found one of your biggest problems.
In order to be an effective leader, you must have time to be creative. You must
have time to step back from your self-imposed grind and take in the larger picture. You
did not rise to your level simply to run payroll and sign checks every week. Nor did you
rise to this level to become an expert in the human resources landscape which seems to
change on a daily basis. Sitting in endless meetings where the momentary project
management problems are being resolved should be well outside your scope. Customer
service should always be completely outside your scope. This is the purvue of
management several levels below you, and that is where it needs to remain. When was
the last time you interacted with a customer directly? Probably never.
You need to make organizational alignment a priority. You should be creating the
organization’s culture, and ensuring that everyone knows that is your priority. You should
be empowering your employees to make decision that further the company’s reputation
without fear of retribution. A great leadership idea would be to encourage your
employees to break a rule every day in order to do the right thing. When your employees
come up to a situation where doing the right thing requires going against a company rule, they should be expected to break that rule. They then report the incident to management with the full confidence that they are safe because they achieved their highest priority: Providing excellent customer service. The reputation of your company depends on its front line workers. They are the faces and experiences associated with the brand which people will tell their friends about.
Those reporting to you directly should always feel safe to do their job, knowing
they have your support. Those subordinates are then responsible for ensuring that those
below them are also safe to do their job, and so on down the hierarchy. Everyone in your
organization must feel that they are supported and safe. The goal of the entire
organization should be to ensure that those inside are protected from those outside of
the company. The only fear of attack should be from external threats. Internal threats
should never cross anyone’s mind.
You need to direct effort into creating a culture that allows people to thrive. When
your employees walk in to work every day, do they need to become a different person
hiding who they are, or are they free to show up as themselves knowing they will be
appreciated for their contributions and perspectives? Can they have open conversations
about their passions, or must they hide that behind a rigid “professional” facade in order
to keep their jobs?
You should embrace the expectation of failure rather than success. All innovations
and growth come from experimentation. You come up with an idea which seems to work
on paper, then you test it. Most ideas will fail for one reason or another. Thomas Edison
failed almost 1000 times before he developed a light bulb strong enough to support a
fully electric light system. Each one of your failures will lead to a small change which will
eventually become a winning product or service. Marketing is a perfect example of this.
You create a product and put it out to the market with focus groups. You then make
changes based on the feedback received from the focus groups’ reaction. Each one of
those changes is a result of a failure. The end point of this process is a winning product
that will produce revenue. Unless your employees are allowed to confidently and safely
try new ideas and fail, your company and brand will never grow. You will stagnate and
lose good employees who need challenges.
Finally, one of the biggest reasons to consider outside partnerships revolves around
making sure your company is seen as a top employer in your industry. Do you have the
infrastructure in place to look and feel like IBM, Yahoo, or Google? If not, then installing that infrastructure should be one of your top priorities, attracting, retaining, and maintaining the top-level talent you need in order to be an effective leader. This cannot be done without a solid infrastructure. The people you want by your side know their worth and are looking for a company that rewards them for the skills they bring to the table. Unless you have this part of the equation handled you will not be able to focus on your personal mission, because you will constantly be doing unnecessary work far below your job scope. If you are a small business owner or decision maker this is one of the key areas in need of an outsourcing partner. Let the experts make your company look and feel like the top employer you are.
The only way to be able to focus on your true role is to drop all the unimportant
tasks. You then must become still for periods of time. You must become still to calm your nervous system and release stress. You must become still to gain perspective. You must become still to see different points of view. You must become still to connect to your own creativity. You must become still to hear your own guidance, and listen to your instincts and intuition.
As a leader you need to find a coach or mentor who can help you connect not only to your personal truth and vision, but the external resources and strategic partners who
can help you remove the unnecessary noise from your mind and calendar. All high
functioning leaders have coaches, without exception. Some have several coaches at once. You need advice from someone who sees things that you cannot because they are in your blind spot. You need someone who has partnered with others like you and walked them through this journey. A good coach will be able to take you on the journey to realize your own personal vision, but also that of your company. They will have connections to
resources that can be pulled in to help with the corporate alignment, and they will be able
to take you on the personal journey of stress relief practices which enable you to become still and hear your own inner guidance. In my work with executives I help them define and align with their personal and professional visions. They then define the steps necessary to reach those goals, and we start taking action based on a tangible end point. I have found that with these types of clients it is impossible to focus only on the personal. Their life is so interwoven with the organization which they lead that it is necessary to address both sides at once. This is where my connections with, and knowledge of, outside strategic partners plays a major role. We can identify the right expert for each function and hand it off knowing it will be taken care of.
The next critical step is to define exactly what becoming “still” looks like. There
are many CD’s and DVD’s out there today touting meditation as the way to
enlightenment, but the advice they offer rarely works for most people. Most people I
know give up on meditation because they just fall asleep about 5 minutes into the practice and never get the value of the stillness they want.
Let’s first define what meditation is. Meditation is different from prayer. A good
way to look at prayer is as a monologue. When you are praying you are talking to your
higher power, and expecting that higher power to listen and then jump in with an answer.
The problem that most people run into, is that as long as you are delivering a monologue,
no other characters have lines in the script. A monologue is purely a one-sided interaction.
If prayer is a one-way monologue, then meditation puts you in the role of the
audience. Meditation is the place where you stop talking, and are simply listening and
waiting patiently for the answer. You may be asking yourself what that answer looks like.
The answer can take many forms. It may show up as a thought. It may arrive in the form
of a song playing on the radio. It may be someone making a random comment that seems to land especially well. The most important point is that in order to receive the answers you are seeking you must be in the receiving, listening mode rather than the speaking or doing mode.
Taking that further, what is keeping you awake at night? Do you have problems
with your team or company that you just can’t put your finger on? Do you feel
overwhelmed and unfulfilled by the life you are living? Do you have the perfect life on
paper but constantly end your day knowing there is something more, that you don’t know
how to reach? Do you know your options as far as trusted partners and strategic alliances for your company that can help mitigate risks, contain long term costs, and help provide guidance around your human capital strategy? Do you know your options as far as trusted partners and strategic alliances for your personal journey? I have found that in most cases, many organizational problems have a human resources solution. Even if you would not have put it under the human resources umbrella to being with. Those problems are easy to eliminate given the right partners. Once eliminated, you will be free to focus on fulfilling your personal vision.
TAMT, EFTMP, METAP, Dr. Metaphysics, Internationally Published Author