Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Friend...and Leader?

Trust, familiarity and connection between leaders and staff has often been a theme in my coaching and consulting work.  How much connection is appropriate or inappropriate?  Leadership as a lonely vigil or the belief that leaders need to be apart from staff in order to be effective arises on a regular basis.  Is this true or is there a different answer?  What better place to look for an answer than Star Trek!

In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode, titled "The Defector", Commander Data acts out a scene from "The Life of Henry V" on the holodeck of the Enterprise.  The notion is that by exploring the works of Shakespeare he will be better able to understand the human condition.  Data's director and mentor in this endeavor is Captain Picard.  The scene focuses on the King passing himself off as a commoner to be amongst his troops on the eve of a great battle.  At the conclusion of this dress rehearsal, Data expresses confusion about the King's behavior - "Captain, why should a king wish to pass as a commoner? If he is the leader, should he not be leading?"  In that regard it seems to me that Data expresses a widely-held view amongst followers and those who lead - leaders must stand apart from their staff if they are to be effective.  Picard's response is even more compelling, however -  "Listen to what Shakespeare is telling you about the man, Data. A king who had a true feeling for his soldiers would wish to share their fears with them on the eve of battle."

From my very first job as a CEO in 1986 I can recall being chided for being overly familiar with my management team and staff.  Many in my community, my Board of Directors, and even members of my own management team would often express concern about my engaging manner and style.  They took issue with me playing golf with my staff, being part of the hospital slo-pitch team, being part of the hospital hockey team, inviting people over to my house and even the notion of idle chats in the hall or sit downs in the cafeteria.  In many if not most cases, we didn't discuss "business" but rather would discuss a whole range of other topics - news stories hitting the front pages, family events, and anything else that might come to mind.  Did that make us friends?  In some cases yes, in other cases no.  Regardless, this type of interaction certainly broke down barriers and reduced or eliminated preconceived notions about "Management" and "Staff".  I believe the relationships I developed allowed me to better understand the challenges my staff faced.  In some cases it allowed my staff to understand my bigger picture and challenges as well.  Ultimately, I even developed some great relationships with previously intractable foes.  This effort certainly generated greater trust and credibility in me from those that I led.  I believe it allowed all of us to be more on the same page moving forward particularly when times were tough.


Amazingly enough, even though nearly 30 years have passed since my first leadership role (Yikes!) I still hear about and see the same adverse reaction to leaders having anything more than "business-focused" engagements with their staff.  Oftentimes this seems to develop into  executive isolation in the C-suite or a strict adherence to rules and regulations so as to not have the appearance of favoritism.   But as Picard's quote reveals, there is a great deal that a leader can gain from being amongst and with their followers.  Moreover, what the quote starts to touch on is the critical role that trust between leader and followers plays in being successful in a leadership role.  In my experience, if you can inspire trust as a leader you are in fact going to get better results, increased morale, enhanced creativity, loyalty and retention.  In contrast if you can't foster trust - or in fact engender mistrust amongst your staff - you can be assured of a range of negative results.  

In case you see the above commentary as the rantings of Star-Trek enamored geek let me first refer you to the 2002 work of Patrick Lencioni, "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team".  In this work and in subsequent writings, Lencioni described and expanded upon what holds a team back from achieving high performance.  The critical linchpin that Lencioni identified - which was the core and base of poor performance and team dysfunction - was the Absence of Trust.  This manifested as an unwillingness of team members to be vulnerable and authentic in their group, unable to genuinely share with their colleagues, and lacking the opportunity and safe environment in which to admit mistakes and weaknesses.  Without a strong basis of trust, teams could not hope to engage in constructive conflict, nor establish a shared commitment to common goals, nor hold themselves and team members accountable to expected performance standards, and never achieve the results that they desired.  In all respects developing this trust comes from the tone set by the leader.

This concept of trust, however, is not new or a recent invention.  Starting in 1983, Kouzes and Posner began a research project in leadership that would ultimately lead them to write several acclaimed books ("The Leadership Challenge", "Credibility") and identifying the five leadership practices of successful leaders.  At the heart of their research and conclusions was that a leader must know their followers and speak their language.  People must believe that you understand their needs and have their interests at heart.  Only through an intimate knowledge of their dreams, their hopes, their aspirations, their visions, their values is the leader able to enlist their support.  I don't know about you, but it seems to be a well nigh impossible task to achieve that kind of understanding of your staff and followers if you don't spend significant time with them, earning their trust, building your credibility, and perhaps even becoming a friend to more than one or two of them. 

Let me put at least one qualifier out there on this leader and friend concept.  You are the leader - whether as supervisor, manager, director, vice-president or CEO.  This means you have duties and obligations that may put your friendships in jeopardy at certain points in time.  You are obligated to make the tough choices as required.  Ultimately, you can't put your friendships ahead of your moral, legal and ethical obligations.  Everybody needs to understand the parameters under which you ultimately have to function as a leader.  Just as in other parts of your world, some of your friends will be more understanding of the realities that you face than others.  Hopefully, however, based on the foundation of trust and credibility you have established by being present, available and truly engaged with your staff you may get cut a bit more slack than if you were the aloof, distant and omnipotent leader that some see as the pinnacle of success.

So, yes being a Leader and a Friend is possible and from my perspective and experience quite logical (as Commander Data and Commander Spock might both say).  Build your trust and credibility by being amongst your followers, understand their challenges and let them understand yours.  The results might surprise you.  
_________________________________________________________

Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions
gregh@breakpoint.solutions 
www.breakpoint.solutions 
780-250-2543

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Power of YOUR BHAG!

Jim Collins (one of my favorite authors) introduced me to the concept of a BHAG - Big Hairy Audacious Goal - in his book Built to Last.  He identified it as a powerful way to stimulate progress through its clarity, its power, and its balanced approach to long-term vision coupled with short-term and relentless sense of urgency.  In doing so, Collins was particularly focused in on organizational success.  But can this concept be applied to circumstances other than the large companies that Collins writes about - Boeing, NASA, Sony, General Electric?  My answer is a clear yes (otherwise I would have nothing to write about).


I see immense power for both my coaching and consulting clients in defining their own BHAG's.  Let me give my own view of what a BHAG needs to look like - it should be truly BIG and AUDACIOUS.  So far that's got to be a disappointing expansion on Collins' concept.  However, a common challenge I see with too many of clients - individuals and organizations alike - is small thinking and (perhaps) an unconscious comfort in not straying too far from the familiar or reassuring realities of current state.  They are not willing and/or able to push the boundaries of their vision.  This can be expressed in a variety of ways - "We can't predict the future!", "That will never happen.", "We don't have the resources to do that.", or "I/we don't have the skills, abilities or talent to achieve ____________."  I'm sure you can come up with a variety of other challenges, barriers, and "reasons" you have either heard or made up yourself when trying to be bold.

Now I'm not saying to simply pursue some dream that is a function of seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses.  That can be a recipe for (rapid) failure.  A BHAG MUST BE grounded in some sense of reality and realistic self-assessment.  However, it must also PUSH you to the next level of possibility.  It must cause you to stretch your skills and abilities.  It must challenge your limiting beliefs and realities.  In my estimation it has to be equal parts exciting and terrifying.  It CAN'T be accomplished with your current way of thinking or doing things.  That's the equation for complacency and mediocrity.

Let me give you my personal examples to try to illustrate the power and benefits of BHAG thinking.  I'll start with my business example first.  Just over seven years ago I was involuntarily reintroduced to the job market through a reorganization.  A not uncommon experience for many these days.  That began my journey as a consultant (first) and coach (second and now strongest calling).  At the time, I set a target of $200,000+ in annual gross billings.  The intent and hope was to recapture what I had just lost through termination of employment.  My business plan at the time was predicated on that target, that BHAG.  In reality, I had NO IDEA how to be a successful consultant or coach having devoted the previous 25+ years of my life to an entirely different career path. While I may have had a BHAG in the form of a revenue target it was ungrounded in the reality of my skill set and knowledge at the time.  But having that target - and a need to continue to provide for my family - drove me to learn, network and develop a set of skills necessary to succeed. It drove me out of my comfort zone.


That's not where it stops, however.  One of the potential challenges with a BHAG is plateauing once that big goal is hit.  What next? The challenge, therefore, becomes setting the next BHAG and the next.  It's not to say you can't be happy with your achievements but there a couple of realities at play here from both a personal and business perspective.  First, standing pat is not a winning strategy in today's world.  There are always new competitors working to overtake you.  There are also new and evolving expectations on the part of your target market.  Unless you are close to retirement coasting is not an option.  In order to sustain success you must be continuously investing and reinvesting in what and who you are. Second, I believe we all need that creative edge and spark to keep our work engaging and fulfilling.  Simply engaging in the "routine" tasks loses its appeal after some time.  We can become disengaged from what and why we do things which I believe has a deleterious impact on the quality of work we produce for our clients.  Third, the establishment of the next BHAG stretches your thinking - what got you here won't get you to the next level.  The BHAG enforces self-evaluation and creativity.

For this reason I don't see BHAG as being singular.  Rather, there is and should be an evolutionary flavor to BHAG's - success lays the foundation for the next impossible goal.  This new stretch goal builds upon our learning in the first or previous round of achievement and can provide us with the confidence that the next impossible goal, while audacious, is achievable.  I've moved from $200,000+ revenue goal to multiples thereof and am now pushing myself to think differently about what a multi-million dollar venture might require of me.

BreakPoint...an intentional stopping point or place to pause, an opportunity to
derive new knowledge, establish commitment to a new direction in one's career or life...
allowing one to evaluate a current path, effort and results, inspect one's environment and
reset for future success

Now for the life/non-business example.  Over 10 years ago I set a goal to compete/participate in the Ironman Canada triathlon in Penticton.  Much like my start as a consultant/coach I really had no idea what this would take at the outset of my journey.  Just prior to this effort I could count on any number of limiting beliefs and barriers to my success - 230 pounds of weight to push/pull around over 225 km of course, a true phobia of water, asthmatic, 45 years of age, with multiple years of sedentary lifestyle to my credit.  And the BHAG at this time was not just finishing the Ironman - it was to do so in under 14 hours.  Not a podium finish to be sure but for the weekend warrior that I was a BHAG nonetheless.  The achievements along the way to Penticton in August 2010 were a significant loss of weight (30 pounds), completion of multiple open water swims, decent results in shorter races, and a significant change in health status.  End results in Ironman 2010 - incredibly deflating.  I finished in about 16 hours and engaged in a heavy bout of self-chastisement.  Upon reflection, however, if I hadn't set a BHAG of 14 hours I wonder if I might have made the cut off of 17 hours at all.

As of July 2019 I have set the next Ironman BHAG.  Ironman is returning to Penticton in August 2020 and I will be there.  And the BHAG's have been set - for from current 207 pounds to 165 pounds (month before the race start), marathon finishing time of less than 5 hours, and swim time for 3.8 km of just over an hour.  Outside of the weight goal (last seen in my 20's) I have never achieved any of these goals.  Putting those BHAG's out there, and reflecting on my past experiences, tells me that the tools, techniques, approaches, and intensity from before will be woefully insufficient to achieve my new goal.  I'll have to prepare differently and with a new level of commitment than at any other point in my life.  All the while managing feelings of self-doubt, reflecting on the fact that I will be 10 years older than in 2010, and with far more business and family obligations on my plate.  What might results be?  Can I breach the 14-hour finish time I have set for myself?




I don't know - but without my BHAG I can guarantee that the result will be even less exciting than if I never set my eyes high.  Shoot for the stars and hit the moon!

BreakPoint...an intentional stopping point or place to pause, an opportunity to
derive new knowledge, establish commitment to a new direction in one's career or life...
allowing one to evaluate a current path, effort and results, inspect one's environment and
reset for future success

_________________________________________________________

Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions
gregh@breakpoint.solutions 
www.breakpoint.solutions 
780-250-2543

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.


Monday, July 8, 2019

What SHOULD You Expect from Your Coach?

In the past I have described factors to be used in selecting your executive coach and how an individual could make the most effective use of their coach.  A gap in this information relates to what YOU SHOULD EXPECT from your coach once selected and engaged.  Coaching is a partnership and like all partnerships is only as effective as the quality and commitment of the participants.  While I believe a coach can't work harder than their client it is just as clear that a coach should deliver on a number of expectations and obligations in order to support client success.

Why this topic at this present time?  Unfortunately, after having been at this work awhile,  I have heard several client experiences and circumstances where an acceptable standard of performance has not been achieved - to my way of thinking.  This reality might not be that different from a variety of other sectors where individuals/firms offer products/services for sale that really don't deliver on their promises.  High price and flashy marketing doesn't equate to quality of offering or results.

Much of the challenge, I believe, comes down to lack of client knowledge and awareness of what "good" or even "great" quality and performance for a coach should look like.  While I have talked about how you should go about selecting an executive coach that doesn't address what you should expect - and perhaps demand - from a coach.  What I offer below is informed by personal experience as a coach and feedback from my clients about what they have appreciated in our work together.

Clarity of Roles and Expectations.  This starts with actual documentation that serves to describe the partnership role between a client and coach.  This certainly doesn't have to be a form vetted by respective lawyers - a trust-based relationship, which coaching is, should not have to go down that path! However, there should be enough clarity between you and your coach to understand what each person is expected to bring to the work, the pattern of work, access between formal sessions and an emphasis on confidential nature of the work.

Confidentiality.  This should really go without saying...but I'll say it.  This is a particularly important consideration when an individual is being sponsored by an organization to utilize coaching, when a coach is involved in group/team coaching, or coaching multiple individuals in an organization.  There is no question that there is great value to me as a coach in having a greater understanding of organizational context through working with multiple clients or engaging with a client's executive sponsor.  However, it also requires the coach to confirm up-front - and subsequently DEMONSTRATE - how confidentiality between sponsor/client/coach or between team members will be maintained.  Just as important, the coach also has to actively guard against any risk of bias or triangulation in their coaching experience with any one individual.

Purposeful Process.  As the coaching client you drive the coaching agenda.  The coach should help you in confirm and clarify this agenda and then help hold you accountable to your goals.  Your coach should be able to balance the need for structure in a coaching engagement (e.g., consistent focus) while at the same time being agile and flexible as client learning and circumstances evolve.  Bottom line for me - no canned approach.  While I do have coaching agreements, intake forms, leadership and team assessments at my disposal, and other tested methodologies and processes, all of that takes a back seat to strongly understanding individual client challenges and opportunities and the organizational culture from which they arrive.  A coach's approach should be tailored to the client - not the other way around.

Challenge.  To be truly effective a coach must challenge your beliefs, assumptions, sacred cows and preconceived notions.  There is nothing I appreciate more than hearing clients say that our work together has made them uncomfortable (in the good way, not the creepy way...), expanded their frame of reference or possibility, and perhaps even radically altered their entire direction.  Paradoxically, if you are finding your coaching sessions to be lovely chats and highly validating you might not actually be getting real value from your coaching partnership.  Your coach needs to bring the right balance of compassion and courage to your work in pursuit of your goals.

Capacity Building.  Akin to Challenge noted above, your coach should be actively working to build your skills to the point of helping to dissolve the coaching partnership at some point in time. The goal is not to create dependency but rather capacity for the individual leader to soar on their own.  In this regard, I often work with my clients in the scheduled last month of our time together to confirm a decision to continue - if value from the client's standpoint is still being delivered - or to strongly transition out of coaching by using skills learned/developed/enhanced during coaching.  This can often mean creating structure on a go-forward basis (e.g., continued pattern of thinking time replacing coaching time) that replicates the successful elements of the coaching partnership.  It's why I share freely any and all of my coaching tools with my clients post-engagement.

Preparation, Continuity, Accessibility, Responsiveness.  I recently had the opportunity to interview a number of my current and former coaching clients for a developing video production.  Key elements of benefit identified by a number of them was their appreciation for how prepared I seemed to be for each coaching engagement, how I seemed to be able to retain the narrative string between formal coaching sessions and throughout the entirety of the coaching engagement, and the level of accessibility and responsiveness afforded to them between formal meetings.  None of this occurs by chance.  I have created processes for myself - and my clients - that strives to prepare us both for upcoming coaching sessions.  By the very nature of my work I am constantly scanning my environment for resources and tools relevant to my work and the success of my clients.  Despite being busy, my clients are my priority and quality and speed of response are foundational for me.  What would you expect from your thinking partner, your sounding board, your coach?

Coaching Presence and Trust.  Like confidentiality this seems to me to be an area that should not have to be emphasized.  How engaged and attentive do you find your coach?  Are they fully focused on you and your work - whether in-person or virtually?  Do they practice active listening?  Do they provide you all the space you need to think and work?  Are they talking more than you!?  Are they providing you a safe space to be vulnerable?  Do their (powerful) questions relate to the issues you are actually grappling with? Coaching - it is all about you!

Holds to Coaching.  Your coach is supposed to coach you.  Not advise and certainly not direct you.  Your coach is not there as mentor or consultant - these roles imply some level of superiority versus partnership.  The coach must continuously demonstrate a belief in your personal ability to tackle your challenges and opportunities.  The coach must understand their own boundaries and the boundaries of their profession - unless otherwise trained, we are not counsellors or therapists.  At times you may expect that your coach, acting in YOUR best interest, would connect you with other professionals or resources even if it meant personal financial loss to the coach.  The coach needs to be able to demonstrate an ability to act in your best interest, not theirs.

Drives Action - and Results.  At the end of day coaching has to be much more than active listening, powerful questioning, being a sounding board, a place of safety/vulnerability - something active and positive has to come out of the partnership.  Demonstrating a compassionate edge, your coach should help you design actions and deliver results.  You or your company are investing time, money and energy into this endeavor - there must be purpose to the endeavor.  Get pushed and get results.
I believe these are some of the qualities and experiences you should be looking for as you experience coaching.  Lofty goals perhaps and I admit to feeling some misgivings as I document these expectations - can I live up to these requirements in all circumstances?  I am constantly striving to do so!  It's About Leadership! And in the case of coaching - It's All About You!
_____________________________

Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions
gregh@breakpoint.solutions 
www.breakpoint.solutions 
780-250-2543

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.







Monday, June 24, 2019

Drive to Why

I have been doing a lot of work of late with organizations and individual leaders as it relates to their "why".  This has can manifest as questions related to "what is our mission?", "what does it mean to do what we do?" and even "what does it matter if we deliver this or that program or service?"  In all of this there is a craving for clarity, direction and ultimately a hope that, on an individual or organizational level, we are in fact making a difference.  For some, this conversation becomes even more powerful when it starts to address the concept of what legacy we might leave behind.  Heady stuff.


There is no doubt that this is and should be considered a critical question to address.  I tend to ascribe dysfunction at an organizational level to several different factors - lack of clarity or alignment on values, lack of clarity or alignment on strategies and tactics.  Lack of commitment to or understanding of Mission/Purpose is high on this list of explaining organizational dysfunction and even conflict.  The same holds true at an individual level.  If we start to consider some of those difficult people we have worked with - or even ourselves - we can recount many instances of individuals who seemed perpetually ornery, out-of-sorts, grumpy and otherwise unpleasant.  I consider these to be potential circumstances where people are disconnected from their fundamental purpose for being - they are not doing the work they were meant to do.  They are in the wrong place to make the impact they were born to make.

One of the key challenges in addressing this gap is in fact understanding what the "Why" and Mission is.  All too often the approach and answer to this question is confused with What and How we do things - we start describing our purpose within the context of the programs/services our organizations currently deliver or expect to deliver.  We describe our Why by our title or position and things we currently do.  This is certainly easier to wrap our heads around.  It takes less effort to describe what we do and how we do.  And we can start to address value we believe we are delivering by the number of people served or products delivered.  Another reason there may be default to this way of trying to define Mission is that it is far less challenging to organizational and personal identity.  Defining Mission by describing current activities rationalizes our current work.  It affirms our identity and makes us feel good.  It is an exercise also fraught with risk if our environment significantly changes or some other external force changes our mandate.  Suddenly our activity-based Mission hits the proverbial - and literal - brick wall.  Change at the stage engenders significant conflict and resistance.


So where to better start this organizational or individual search for Mission and Purpose - the more fundamental Why?  I suggest divorcing yourself entirely from the programs/services you provide or the position/title you hold  Engage in the thought process that eliminates the types of things you currently do that would yet allow you to adjust, change and do something different to allow you to fell fulfilled and purposeful.  Sound a bit too pie in the sky??  Let me give you my personal example.

For the longest time I fundamentally confused Mission and Vision for myself.  For much of my healthcare leadership career I would have defined success and Mission with the type of role I aspired to take on - CEO of a large urban hospital.  The challenge to this dream were successive rounds of reform efforts that have characterized our reality since at least the mid 1990's.  The positions and realities I aspired to increasingly ceased to exist.  It truly wasn't until such time that I left my leadership career behind - involuntarily - that I came to define my new personal (and organizational) mission in ways that transcended any particular role, occupation, title or even location.  The result for me became:

Helping Leaders Discover, Realize and Unleash Their Potential

For me, this new sense of purpose - perhaps driven out of necessity - allowed me and allows me to live to a sense of purpose that can be realized in a multitude of ways, robust enough to respond as changing circumstances dictate.  Far from being "flighty" in my work or approach to life it allows me to remain centred and be who I want to be regardless of changing context.  I can live this Mission by being a Leader in the formal sense with position, title and authority - I can take on a job as I desire. I can live this Mission by being an individual or team/group coach.  I can live this Mission as a consultant.  I can live this Mission through presentations, teaching and speaking engagements.  This Mission, This Why is not dependent on any one type of work, client or even location.  It becomes THE constant guidepost for continuous learning, professional development, networking and a range of other activities.  It speaks to my Passion first and any desirable outcome (e.g., earnings) second.  


So that's my advice and challenge to you.  Be fundamentally clear on your purpose - for yourself or your organization (or both).  Be fundamentally clear on a Mission that can be independent of what you do or how you do today.  If you don't know why you do what you do don't be surprised to end of up in a place you don't want to be.
_____________________________

Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions
gregh@breakpoint.solutions
www.breakpoint.solutions
780-250-2543

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.


Monday, June 17, 2019

Choose Your Battlefield

I'm a bit of a history buff.  Others might consider that comment an understatement as they peruse the inventory of books sitting on shelves at home and at work.  E-readers and audio books?  Not for me - I need the physicality of history in my hands.  Old fashioned?  No doubt.

One reason for this fascination with history comes from the lessons learned - and not learned - from others.  With variations on a theme, the quote "Those who cannot remember (or learn) from the past, are doomed to repeat it" resonates with me.  One of those lessons that has been the subject of explicit and implicit discussion with many of my clients is that of choosing or changing the field of battle on which you compete.  We can probably all understand and appreciate this at some bigger picture level with companies and technologies that have changed their landscape - Apple, Uber, Airbnb.  These companies and technologies did not take as given the landscape they faced and at points in time made a conscious decision to NOT compete against well-established competitors.  They radically changed the field of battle. In some cases, so radically that major competitors were put out of business.


This is not a new a concept.  For centuries, ranging back to Greek city states, the Persian empire and other dynasties, commanders and armies would maneuver for days or stare across at each other for weeks from their respective camps looking for the best place or opportunity to engage in battle.  They sought out high ground, access to water, linkage to the coast or supplies, or waiting for the sun to be in their enemy's eyes before engaging.  These ancient leaders went to great lengths to try and set the table to their best advantage, to leverage a strength or mitigate a weakness.  Alternatively, they might seek similar opportunities to diminish an opponent's strength or take advantage of their perceived weakness.  Don't have sufficient or good enough cavalry?  Choose a battleground that constrains the field of movement.  Fighting against great odds?  Choose a place where only part of your enemy's strengths can be brought to bear at one time.

So how does this relate to leadership/team coaching, organizational effectiveness, business development, consulting or other things that you might be doing?  It relates in nearly every circumstance that I work with.  Which one of these scenarios might you have experienced or otherwise be familiar with:

"I looked at the job posting and I'm missing a couple of the qualifications they are looking for so I'm not going to apply."

"He/she/they stopped me in the hallway and were looking for my input on his/her/their initiative.  I felt compelled to answer them on the spot but I don't think I gave the best answer."

"I'd like to pursue the CEO role but I'm not sure I'm what they are looking for.  I'm not anything like the current CEO."

"The client/RFP is looking for something pretty particular as far as a solution/technique.  It's not something we have do so maybe the fix is already in?"


I could go on with other samples but at the heart of these comments is a belief (or fear) that the terms and conditions of the "battle" are already set and our choice is to compete on those terms or not at all.  My suggestion is that perhaps the battle conditions are not set in stone.  You may and can have a choice as to where, how and when to engage.  How can you alter your own reality and that of your "adversary" to change the tide in your favor.  For example, if applying for a new role, how can you paint a picture that despite not having a couple of the qualities or attributes laid out that you have something different or more important to offer that the hiring committee has not taken into account?  Rather than feeling compelled to respond on the spot to a question or proposal how can you set yourself up to better respond perhaps by asking for a more considered, focused and structured discussion - one that allows you to be as prepared as your counterpart?  What makes you think that you have to lead like the last CEO?  Or that you can?  Or that you should  We are all different leaders, no clones, and certainly all imperfect.  What do you bring to a leadership role that your successor did not and that is perhaps better suited to current and future reality?

All of these scenarios - and the historical analogies of success - speak to and require several foundational realities being in place.  First, an understanding of your personal, team or organizational strengths and values.  Those (successful) generals and commanders noted earlier were completely aware of the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and their armies and those of their foes as well. You likewise need to understand your own strengths and limitations and how to make best use of those in your chosen field of endeavor.  Second, is the ability to exercise restraint and patience to seek out the right opportunity to apply your skills and abilities.  Wrong time, wrong place?  Might mean the wrong opportunity?  Third, having the courage to be bold or patient as circumstances dictate.  When pushed can you hold your ground to create the right circumstances for victory?  When opportunity presents, can you demonstrate and apply your strengths at the right time and place?  Time and tide may wait for no one.  Be clear about your objectives, your vision for success, and apply your strengths, abilities and values with confidence.


It's About Leadership and sometimes leadership means actively understanding and creating the conditions for success - your success.
_____________________________

Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions
gregh@breakpoint.solutions
www.breakpoint.solutions
780-250-2543

Helping leaders realize their strengths and enabling organizations to achieve their potential through the application of my leadership experience and coaching skills. I act as a point of leverage for my clients. I AM their Force Multiplier.