It is hard to believe that one hundred years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright were preparing their “flying demonstrations” for an interested, if not skeptical public.
Wilbur had taken one of their flying machines to Le Mans, about 125 miles southwest of Paris, France. His younger brother, Orville, was doing the same at Fort Myers, Virginia, USA.
Their flying demonstrations were a huge success and established Orville and Wilbur as the leading authorities for the design, development and demonstration of flying machines in the world at this time. People of influence and the public gravitated to the brothers who had transformed man’s dream of flying into a reality that they could see with their own eyes.
The Wright brothers were not of noble blood and certainly did not come from money. They did not have venture capital or government resources at their disposal either. They financed themselves and their technological breakthroughs from the profits of their bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio.
Orville and Wilbur were not discouraged when the voices of authority did not agree with their views. Only a few years earlier, the Washington Post stated, “It is a fact, man can’t fly.” Other science experts, like Simon Newcomb, distinguished astronomer and professor at Mark Hopkins University, dismissed the dream of flight as nothing more than a myth.
The Wright brothers took total ownership of their vision that man could fly and they were the ones that would make it happen. This became their personal mission that would help them power through or around every difficulty, shortcoming or obstacle in their way.
It is remarkable what we can do when we put our minds and hearts into something that we believe is worthy and valuable.
The next time you stand in front of an overwhelming situation and your hear your inner voice say, “This simply isn’t possible”, respond to that voice in this way;
“I know this isn’t possible, but if it were possible, how would it work?”
Use deliberate language to unleash your unlimited potential and let your imagination fly.
Enjoy your news2use!
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
During a recent conversation, the global head of talent development at a Silicon Valley company shared with me that his CEO had committed to a coaching process.
“That’s great news. This will be a positive example for everyone the company”, I replied.
“Well, he is doing this coaching, but people aren’t supposed to know about it. Naturally, we do know about, but we do not talk about it. He wants to keep it confidential.”
This is not just sad; it is bad for your business.
There is nothing to be ashamed of by asking for help.
We all need help. Leaders set the example for everyone in their organization when they share that they need and seek help so they improve and grow.
None of us is perfect. When we pretend to be perfect, hide our imperfections, our areas of development and discourage people from giving us feedback and ideas to improve, we lose followers and our ability to influence people.
Most of my bosses were open with me about their strengths, areas of development and their shortcomings. They encouraged me to give them feedback as I saw fit. This triggered a deep sense of personal responsibility to act in the same way. It motivated me and encouraged me to stay highly engaged.
When you hide where you need help, you hurt yourself and your company.
For You & Your Team
There are two types of work arounds.
Technical work arounds and people work arounds.
Sometimes things do not work, but they have to work, so we need technical work arounds, to make sure things run, like in the Apollo 13 experience.
Technical work arounds are usually a short-term tactic, just to manage things until a better solution can be developed.
People work arounds are a different story. They often evolve because people are not getting along with one another. Maybe it is a conflict, a lack of respect between people or simply a misunderstanding due to different perceptions.
People work arounds develop quietly, gradually and they are not announced or part of corporate protocols or your org chart.
Remember that people work arounds are very costly and they poison your collaboration culture. People work arounds pull in leaders at higher levels to “manage situations” that they should not be a part of in the first place. This means it takes them away from tasks that only they can do.
Here are three examples, surely, you have more:
- Two senior leaders, each representing a different part of the business, share an office space but do not communicate directly with each other, instead doing so over the headquarter function, several hundred kilometers away.
- Escalations from the global sales organization reroute to the CEO’s office because of lack of responsiveness and results from the product development group.
- Team members talk about another person in the team to others, but do not address the issues directly with the person involved.
These are human work arounds. They are unhealthy and cannot be tolerated in a high performance culture. Keep this in mind and keep your eyes open for people work arounds that start to develop in your business.
Are there exceptions? Of course, there are. Think about a situation when you are the customer, an end user and you are not being managed as a customer should be managed. You contact the CEO and explain the situation to her. From my experience, the response from the CEO’s office is immediate and most often, very satisfying. This is because most CEOs are in their role because they place the customer at the center of everything they do.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
If you had to give a movie title to your town hall meetings or large events that you hold as a leader, what would the movie title be? Would it resemble a Disney movie, full of smiling people, positive stories and happy endings?
On the other hand, might it look like a Clint Eastwood film, like the Good, the Bad and the Ugly?
It is true that leaders need to be optimistic and positive; yet if you present an artificial or one sided, pretty picture of your business, and ignore the bad and the ugly, you will lose credibility and people will not trust you.
When BMW started their manufacturing operations in Spartanburg, South Carolina, there were many problems initially. American managers were used to showing “good news” business updates and were not used to talking about problems directly. This made German managers in Munich very uncomfortable.
Quality and production volumes were behind target, yet the real issues were not getting on the table.
I did a lot of work in this German-USA collaboration, developing intercultural competence, accelerating knowledge transfer, and helping managers learn to lead effectively in another culture.
When the Americans learned that Germans actually welcome problems, (then it is just a matter of fixing it) things began to change.
Today BMW Spartanburg is an exceptional success story, with over 10,000 employees at the site, producing 1400 high quality cars a day.
Effective leaders are optimistic and positive, yet they share challenging situations and problems with their people. In this way, people feel valued, respected and are more likely to act like owners in the places they work
People, Places & Things
My primary focus is supporting and coaching leadership teams to play at their best.
Yet I recognize that there are talented and motivated leaders who want to develop themselves and their leadership skills in a personal and accelerated way, yet are not able to do this in their team at the current time.
I deeply believe that each of us deserves to play at our best. My personal and professional experiences have shown me that learning in small sets; or in a group with like-minded professionals leads to more meaningful and sustainable improvements than simply learning by one’s self. When we learn with people outside of our immediate environment, others are able to see us, and the situations we aspire to master, from a different perspective. This can be very helpful and enable us to accelerate our development and growth process.
This is why I am introducing a limited number of leadership growth labs, starting in 2019. A leadership growth lab is a small group of professional and highly motivated leaders, coming from different backgrounds, roles and companies for the purpose of improving and growing their personal and professional leadership skills.
As I was transitioning from N Vision Learning to Dan Norenberg, Executive Ownershift, I participated in a yearlong global growth program with a group of international consultants. This program helped me clarify, focus and execute on the things that mattered most in my new mission. It was highly beneficial for me and greatly accelerated my personal and business growth.
If you are interested in one of my leadership growth labs in 2019, or have leaders that report to you that would benefit from this resource, you can find more information at the link below or contact us directly in Munich.
Thought for the Day
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the message was lost.
For want of a message, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.