Friday, March 16, 2012

Leadership Morality - do you have it?

Well Done Greg Smith, previously an Executive Director, for standing up for Integrity in Leadership. At last someone is courageous and highlighting what is going on inside many organisations today.

The effect on normal intelligent, integral Senior Executives is profound when they are in a toxic culture. It's like a cancer spreading and deepening into the moral fibre of the company. They have little time for a personal life as their leaders expect returns overnight, whilst on holiday and over weekends. Their Global world continues 24/7. This puts huge demands on their physical and emotional health, their personal relationships and it causes huge amounts of long term stress. This can and does happen at the most senior levels in corporate organisations today. If this toxic culture is rewarded then you change the culture very quickly and the cancer spreads.

Of course if you are one of these corporate bullies, it's ok that you survive and perpetuate the behaviour and the culture, but if you are not, if you are an integral leader, then it is a horrendous situation to be in and in the end something breaks. Everyone who is integral must stand for real authentic leadership now or we will have more morally corrupt organisations who fail their people, their clients and their shareholders. Stand Up now - but how?

All senior leaders at the highest levels must stop and be open to assessing the true reality of the culture. Don't ignore what you are hearing, seeing and feeling. It starts with you - you define the culture of the business and so does every single person at senior level. Don't make excuses because it will be because of you that the culture becomes toxic, so take ownership now you can change it.

First Step - start with a Culture Audit. You cannot change the culture unless you know what it is really like. Don't be defensive. Great leaders always listen to their people and their customers first.

Second Step - take ownership for the future vision and values of your business. Words are not enough, they must be visible in the behaviours of senior leaders first. Hold yourselves accountable.

Third Step - cascade this throughout your business, involve the whole organisation, every team and every individual.

Changing the culture takes time, investment, determination and bravery. Do it before you destroy your team, business and your results.

The culture must be in the DNA, the moral fibre, visible in everything you say and do - not just corporate words. They mean nothing if not reflected in the moral fibre and there is no integrity to that kind of leadership. It takes an authentic leader to stand up and be counted and we need them now.

I have met, coached and developed some amazing leaders over my 25 year career. Each one has gone on to maintain their integrity even when times have been tough. As a result they have changed the cultures in their teams, made a stand for integral leadership and have achieved great results in their organisations.

It can be done but you have to be brave, courageous and very determined to stand for what is right.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mind Coaching for the Brighton 2012 Marathon Runners

Friday was the day – I gave my time back to Brighton.
My aim was to help the Marathon Runners supporting the The Whitehawk Inn to get their minds fit for the event. Body-fit is not enough as Sir Edmund Hilary said "It’s not the mountain you have to conquer - it is yourself"
Our mind can be our worst competitor. It can turn against us. It can stop us before we have started.
I remember being on the edge of a very challenging ski slope many years ago and becoming terrified by thinking I could not turn. My mind had stopped me, every part of me was terrified, so frightened I could not turn – but because of my training I could train my brain to let me go and eventually after a great deal of discussion with myself and visioning success, I got myself down that slope and have never looked back.
So I wanted to give some hints and tips to help the runners to get in control of their minds.
What did we do?
I helped them get clear on their 'Purpose' – the 'why' they are running the Marathon. You must have a clearly defined purpose - the reason why.
We then got clear on their 'Vision of Success' – what would be happening when they were successful. Successful people have a very clear 'Vision'. They are able to go forward in their minds and act ‘as if’ they have already achieved success. We did that.
We discussed their strengths and capabilities – the 'what' they had already that could help them. Using the resources you already have available make it easier than working without them. Use them to help you to be successful now.
Then we talked about their Beliefs! Thinking drives behaviour, so it is vital to think for success, not failure. We identified what might stop them? How they might stop themselves? Once we knew the answers to that question, then we started the process of changing some self-limiting beliefs and behaviours. I selected one of the participants and took them through a 'belief change cycle'. It was amazing for her and great for the others to see ‘how’ to change your thoughts. She came out with a clearly defined belief structure which will enable her success.
Finally, we focused on the timeline and what and how they organised their minds in relation to time. Some were well planned, whilst others were not and had done very little preparation. So knowing what success looks like, start with the end in mind and act as if you are already there – that could apply to any thinking for any sport or business.
Train your mind for success, not failure and don’t be your own worst enemy.