3 Ways to Ignite Your Leadership Connection

3 Ways to Ignite Your Leadership Connection

The longer I live, the more convinced I am of the power of connection—and especially connections of the heart. Unlike computers, rocks and steel, we humans have emotions and spirits that can be lifted, energized and ignited by a relational connection. We know it but grossly underestimate the power of those connections.

Our Strongest Connections  

When conducting workshops, I often ask participates to think of a time when someone connected with them, asked about their dreams, believed in them, and spoke into their lives in a way that fueled them upward and onward in their life and career. The stories they share are sometimes emotional and always inspiring to everyone in the room.

Now, pause to reflect on the person who connected with your heart and helped fuel your dream job, or provided a booster rocket along your path. What did they do or say made a difference? Now, what about your leadership? How could you be a “launcher” who impacts and influences another person’s career? Recently I’ve learned more about how this works.

Connection is Scientific

Dr. Richard Boyatzis has studied, researched, and written about emotional intelligence and resonant relationships for decades now. The data is clear that, what he calls, resonant relationships are the most powerful method known for coaching and developing people.

In his new book coming out this month, Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth, Dr. Boyatzis describes a resonant relationship as one that is built on a positive emotional tone and a genuine, authentic connection with the other person.

His research shows conclusively that –

“positive relationship connections help people create change that is holistic and sustainable.” [Tweet This]

This is the principle that is borne out in the stories that people share about their positive experience with the one who launched them into the success they now enjoy, living out their dreams of many years ago.

Applying this Heart Strategy

We’re excited because now we can better understand and be even more confident in the process we call “Connecting with the Heart”.

Let’s look at some practical ways that you can be a career and life coach that launches people into being their best authentic self –

  1. Become mindful (aware) of yourself and the other person. Lower your intensity, relax, and set all your problems and concerns aside for a moment to focus on the person in front of you. Give them your full attention. Act as though there is nothing else in the world more important than them.
  2. Let your emotions show that you are excited to be around them and interested in what they are interested in. Ask them about their dreams and passions. Listen and resist judgement or temptations to correct, change, or fix any response they give.
  3. Let them know that you believe in them. Stay positive and share something you have seen in or about them that supports their vision. For several years I’ve facilitated men’s small groups where we do an exercise like this to affirm each other. We refer to it as “calling out your glory.”

My Heart Connecting Leaders

As a young college student, one of the most influential and respected men in my small hometown spoke into my life. He always gave me a big smile when we met. Knowing I was very committed to Air Force ROTC, he would often greet me by saying, “Well hello general, how are things with you?” The message I received was his confidence that I had what it took and that I was going to go a long way.

Later as a young fighter pilot in the Vietnam war*, my Wing Commander, Colonel Bob Maloy, would greet me with a genuine smile and act like he was delighted to be flying with me. He let me fly most of the time and asked my opinions and respected what I said. Then he chose me to fly with him on the day we flew the 3,000 combat sortie for the Gunfighter wing at Danang. The amazing thing was that these were very busy, very successful people, old enough to be my father, yet they set everything aside, and cast their focus on me long enough to encourage my future.

Lee squatting down by the staff car and sign was at the completion of the 10,000 sortie for the Danang 366 TFW Gunfighters. He was selected to fly with him on that special commemorative mission.

Slow Down and Connect

“In an incredibly busy and often results-focused world of the 21st century, it’s easy to overlook the power that we have to inspire others by connecting with their hearts.” [Tweet This]

We need to pause and remember how crucial it was for us—and now it’s time to pay back the bank. Will you be one who reads this blog and becomes more intentional building resonant relationships? I hope so. I wrote it and I am. Let’s see how many of us can give a positive report before the September blog comes out. LE  [Tweet this Article]

P.S. Don’t forget to look for Dr. Richard Boyatzis’ new book mentioned above releasing the first week of September. You don’t want to miss it.

NEW! A Self-Study Training Course for Your Team

We’ve just released the new Engage with Honor Group Training Guide as a self-study leadership development course for your team. Used with the award-winning book, Engage with Honor, this training guide provides everything you need to build a culture of courageous accountability.

“Connecting with the Heart” is a training session in this course.

Download a free sample in the Leading with Honor Store

Purchase your copies – bulk savings are available

 

 

 

Trump’s Next Phase on Health Care: Everywhere and Nowhere

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-07-09/trump-health-care-reform-he-s-everywhere-and-nowhere

A scattershot and at times contradictory approach to fixing the system is impeding progress.

A hodgepodge of news this week is telling the confusing and contradictory story of President Donald Trump’s efforts to change American health care.  

On Monday, a federal judge blocked the administration’s efforts to force drugmakers to disclose the often astronomical list prices of medicines in their TV ads. It was intended to shame pharma into lowering prices, and would have been the first of the Trump administration’s major drug-cost initiatives to actually take effect.

On Tuesday, oral arguments were set for a Department of Justice-backed case that could wipe out the Affordable Care Act. 

Wednesday will reportedly see the president reveal an ambitious set of initiatives intended to rein in spending on kidney costs. 

The kidney initiative is among the administration’s better notions, along with its effort to index some drug costs covered by Medicare to the lower prices available abroad. Yet even when the administration lands on a good idea in health care, it seems to get in its own way. The Trump-backed ACA lawsuit, for example, would directly undermine the kidney initiative and price-indexing plan. And while the president has a variety of other proposals in the works – from an effort to pass drug discounts directly to consumers to a plan to force hospitals to make their pricing transparent – many could be exposed to the kind of legal risks that killed the drug-ad initiative. It’s all part of a scattershot and often incoherent approach that isn’t as effective as it could be.

Take the kidney-care push: this area of treatment is costly in part because the current system incentivizes expensive care at dialysis centers that are largely run by two companies: DaVita Inc. and  Fresenius Medical Care AG. (Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, is the lead independent director at DaVita.) The Department of Health and Human Services reportedly wants to change that dynamic with new payment models intended to shift patients to more cost-effective treatment at home. At least part of the administration’s ability to implement those models comes from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Innovation Center, which was created by the ACA and is threatened by the lawsuit.

The contradictions don’t end there. People with end-stage kidney disease are covered by Medicare, so the lawsuit wouldn’t strip their coverage. However, the administration’s plan reportedly emphasizes intervening before people get to the point where they need dialysis or transplants. Killing the ACA is at direct odds with that goal. It would see millions lose insurance coverage, would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions like chronic kidney disease, and crimp access to preventative care.

Though it is a long shot, the court case demonstrates the administration’s inconsistency in health care. Just about every health initiative would be harmed by the disruption that would result if this lawsuit succeeds, especially considering that the administration doesn’t have a replacement plan. If it were serious about keeping people off of dialysis or curing HIV, it would oppose this suit and stop other ongoing efforts that harm the ACA’s individual market and Medicaid.

The administration hasn’t detailed an ACA alternative because its previous effort to pass one was a political disaster that helped Democrats seize control of the House of Representatives in 2018. Instead, its health-care efforts have largely been confined to executive orders and rule-making. That approach narrows the scope of what the administration can accomplish, and comes with significant risks. If a federal judge thinks that forcing the disclosure of drug prices in ads is an overreach, there’s clearly a chance that the administration’s more ambitious plans will also have issues.

I’m rooting for the kidney effort. It targets a real problem and could have an impact, depending on the details. I’d be more optimistic about the plan’s chances if it were part of a cohesive set of policies that had Congressional backing, rather than the current jumble. 

6 DEFINING VALUES OF A LEADERSHIP CULTURE

http://www.leadershipdigital.com/edition/daily-innovation-leadership-2019-06-16?open-article-id=10712652&article-title=6-defining-values-of-a-leadership-culture&blog-domain=n2growth.com&blog-title=n2growth-blog

Twelve years after launching culture change consulting services, I am finally sitting down to write about six defining values of a leadership culture. These are factors I’ve learned that define whether an organization can improve their Culture or not. No surprise that all six values rise and fall on leadership.

Before I unpack the six values, let me paint the backdrop of how it all began. In 2006, one of my CEO clients in Sarasota, FL shared with me his annual employee engagement survey. Most Type A leaders are charming, demanding, and unlovable, but not Steve. He had a caring heart just below the surface of his Type A layer. Even in his frustration, he oozed care and concern for people. We sat in his office while he shared his most recent employee engagement survey, and because he cared so much, he was frustrated. He didn’t like the pre-formulated questions, and he didn’t know what to do with the report results. He was delivered a canned report with no clear direction. “David,” he asked, “can you build me an employee engagement survey that we can customize around the kind of culture I want to create?” Like all good consultants, I said, “probably, let me do a little research and get back to you.” After I flew home from my monthly trip to sunny Sarasota, I did as I said and began to research and evaluate his request. As I dug around the internet, three data points came to light.

The first data point revealed that most employee engagement surveys were un-customizable. Surveys were built for mass production, not carefully and strategically customized for unique cultures. Why should the 8-year old, first generation, 88-person software development company in San Diego expect to have the same desired culture as the 48-year old, 3rd generation, 268-person manufacturing company in Rochester, NY? To me, that made no sense for the client, but all the sense to the vendors who mass-produced their expertise to increase profit over quality. Their research determined that one of the most important questions that define a good corporate culture is “Do you have a best friend at work.” Really? How does that define one’s culture? I am quite blessed to have had many best friends over the years, but none of them worked with me. Whether my best friend worked in Chicago or with me in Allentown never impacted my like or dislike of corporate culture.

The second data point was that most employee engagement surveys and the firms that employed them were extremely heavy on reporting data overload, but weak on meaningful implementation. Before starting Walton Consulting, Inc. in 2001, I worked for a boutique strategy consulting firm out of Princeton, NJ that developed and delivered high-cost elaborate strategic plans. The client would outwardly applaud the mountain-sized strategic planning document full of analysis, logic, and recommendations. However, inside I am sure they were asking themselves, “what the hell do I do now, and why did I pay so much for something I don’t know what to do with…maybe I should hide it on the bookshelf and refer to it in ‘name’ whenever I want to drive a random point home to my employees.” It is the same way with employee engagement surveys. The client gets a pretty report, but without the creator of the report, the expert on the topic to help with implementation, the report becomes an article of affection or dissatisfaction (depending on the results of course). As with many consultants, the implementation phase becomes an afterthought, a monumental chore that gets swept under the carpet and ignored.

The third data point was an epiphany that corporate culture was the missing cog. At this juncture of Walton, I had been focused on delivering consulting services to CEOs and business owners to help them grow healthy organizations. I was already delivering strategic planning, sales and marketing strategy and leadership recruiting services, all of which helped grow organizations, but the culture cog was missing. As I pondered on the importance of corporate culture, I intuitively understood that the culture cog acted as a fuel valve that could either spur on growth or squelch it. I reflected on how much corporate culture was really the vineyard soil that determined the environment’s capability and capacity for growing good fruit and producing a rich yield.

Wow, I must build this tool for my client I thought. It is not only critical as a foundation for successful organizational growth, but it also fits neatly into my core service offerings focused on “healthy” growth. In 2006 I launched the Culture offering. Now, 13 years later, with over 3,000 employees surveyed, and a marketplace foaming at the mouth about culture with quotes like Peter Drucker’s, “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast,” I am ready to share six values that leadership needs to employ if they plan on truly Changing Culture. Check back next issue where I will reveal what they are and why they are so important to growing a healthy organization.

Here are six leadership values that impact culture:

  1. Leadership Cares
  2. Leadership Alignment
  3. Leadership Listens
  4. Leadership Commitment
  5. Leadership Implementation
  6. Leadership Flexibility

For the purposes of this article, leadership is defined as the CEO and his or her executive team. Let’s deep dive into each factor…

LEADERSHIP CARES

There are different reasons why leaders care.  I had one client who cared because he was experiencing an employee revolt.  He was truly concerned that if he did not get his arms wrapped around his dysfunctional corporate culture that he would have a mass exodus on his hands.  Some leaders care because they understand that improved culture leads to improved profitability.  Other leaders care because they want to enrich the lives of their employees.  Bottom line, the leadership needs to care.  A friend and colleague of mine who was the President of a mid-market global firm told me flat out; he just didn’t care.  The employees to him were a means to an end.  Another human resource colleague of mine cares deeply about changing their culture, but she isn’t the CEO, and without the CEO caring, it will never get the attention it needs.

LEADERSHIP ALIGNMENT

When beginning a culture change endeavor, the likelihood that the CEO and all of the executive team really cares, views culture impact with the same gravity, and has the same cultural values is rare.  For successful culture change to occur, leadership needs to be aligned.  This is not an easy task, but my pill for the cure is training.  With each culture change engagement I deliver, I interview and train the leadership team together.  We review how it impacts their business, and we talk about what kind of culture they have and want.  We even design the employee engagement survey together for aligned executive level buy-in.  People own what they help to create, so in this manner, the leadership team owns their culture and shifts into alignment.

LEADERSHIP LISTENS

One of the most important messages you can send to people that follow you is that you listen.  That means you ask for opinions and give others an opportunity to influence.  When you incorporate a strong feedback mechanism in your employee engagement survey, you create a pathway for communication that fuels employees’ personal value.  The key though is to listen.  The biggest mistake to corporate culture change is to ask and not act.  Essentially communicating that you are not listening.  I encourage my clients to respond to culture change feedback even if the ideas cannot be adopted—this reinforces that you have listened.

LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT

As a leader of your organization, if you are not ready to commit to the adventure of change, then don’t get off the porch.  I mean that—do not start unless you are committed to finish!  I have seen firsthand companies that have turned culture change into an organizational minefield.  The CEO will tell me it didn’t work, and unfortunately, I have to remind them that they weren’t committed to change and that the entire initiative turned into a hollow promise.  Yes, it will backfire if there is a lack of commitment.

LEADERSHIP IMPLEMENTATION

As a 20-year consultant veteran, I differentiate myself by emphasizing implementation.  When an organization begins culture change, the transformation will only occur through implementation.  I do not stop with a report and recommendations. I help my clients build actionable implementation plans.  I work with the leadership team to identify and select employees who can play a role in helping the execution of those plans.  This spreads the implementation buy-in throughout the company and ensures greater success of implementation.  Leadership’s role is to coach and facilitate implementation.

LEADERSHIP FLEXIBILITY

When a company embarks on transforming their corporate culture, they are embarking on a journey into the unknown.  Culture is fluid, ever-changing, impacted by the daily weather, disruptive, moody and explosive.  During culture change implementation, leaders need to be flexible, understanding that the environment will shift actions and initiative throughout the process.  Leaders need to use their corporate values as the compass, to ensure they are going in the right direction, yet be flexible to allow deviations.

The bottom line is simple. Culture change rises and falls on leadership, but a strong culture can make the difference between winning and losing, so I encourage leaders to embrace the challenge and lead their organizations toward a healthy corporate culture.