Friday, December 30, 2005

Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious - Duh!

Wow, sometimes I'm amazed at how long it takes me to GET something! I guess the main thing is that eventually I get it. OK, here's the situation:

So I'm visiting friends over the holidays and they have a clock that plays a song on the hour. I'm getting ready one morning and the clock goes off and it's playing When You Wish Upon A Star. Easy enough, right?

But this lightbulb goes off in my head and I realize what a genius Walt Disney was (as well as the people he must have surrounded himself with). I think all this insight that I'm getting is new stuff ... but it's not. This is brilliant!

Here are the words to When You Wish Upon A Star (thanks, Jiminy!):

When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dreams
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those who love
The sweet fullfillment of
Their secret longings

Like a boat out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

It reminds me of the first time I really listened to the words to Somewhere Over the Rainbow ... Wow.

What are your dreams and intentions for 2006? Let's dream big - and share them together. ANYTHING our hearts desire can come to us ... if bluebirds can fly over the rainbow, why can't I?

Why indeed?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Are Level 5 Leaders Magnetic?

I've been thinking a lot lately about something Marianne Williamson said in one of her lectures (I recently bought a 4 CD set of some of her live speeches called "Letting Go and Becoming"). She talks in one of her speeches about how it is becoming necessary for us to seek an equal balance of mind and heart.

Of course, I relate everything I read, hear, watch, etc. to business, so I'm theorizing about this in terms of Jim Collins' Level 5 leaders (from Good to Great).

Collins, despite his best efforts in doing strict numbers-based research for the book, couldn't deny that there was some thread of something that ran through the leaders of the 11 companies that made the cut. Collins didn't want this "soft stuff" to impact his hard numbers, but his researchers (he calls them "chimps") convinced him that there was something to this area of leadership that they were discovering. Collins eventually came to call these leaders Level 5 Leaders. I'll come back to the Level 5 dialogue in a minute.

According to Marianne Williamson, we are all composed of both masculine and feminine energy - there is something about your human experience that will identify more with one or the other in your lifetime, but the balance of the universe has to do with an equal honoring of both. Our civilization has traditionally overemphasized the masculine worldview. The masculine mind is focused on externals. In Western civilization we focus a lot on the REAL - whether or not I can put my hands on it - whether or not I can register it with my physical senses. When the masculine energy thinks of changing, it works to change something that already exists. It thinks in terms of taking something you don't like and substituting something you do like. On the other hand, it is a feminine function to create what you do want. Creating is when you bring something out of no-thing.

Masculine energy is dynamic. It DOES. Feminine consciousness is not dynamic, but magnetic. It is more about BEING.

We've been taught that in order to be "successful" we need to DO something - we need to CHANGE something - we need to show results. It's what we can see and touch that matters. We really believe that touchy feely stuff won't bring about any changes because we can't see or measure the results.

But we need to go within in order to create the world anew. If we really want things to be different in our worklives and really in our whole lives, we need to think about creating, not making. How is it working in our lives to MAKE somebody DO something? What if we stopped trying to change everyone else and went inside and thought about TRANSFORMING ourselves?

I wonder if that's what Collins meant when he described the distinction between Level 4 and Level 5 leadership. He describes a Level 4 leader as one who "catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards" (in other words, dynamic). His definition of a Level 5 leader is one who "builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will" (page 20) (in other words, magnetic).

Maybe the Good to Great Level 5 leaders - all 11 of them (and all male, by the way) - were leaders who were more in touch with their feminine or magnetic energy. Maybe they were the ones who encouraged creativity within their workplaces. Think of the most successful leaders you've encountered in your life, whether at work or at home or at school or in some other activity. Would you say that they exhibited more Level 5 or Level 4 behaviors? Were they more dynamic or more magnetic? Were they Do-ers or Be-ers?

Certainly there is always some combination of the masculine and the feminine, of the dynamic and magnetic - and in fact, isn't that the goal: to achieve a balance? But I'm beginning to discover, at least for myself, that I'm much more effective as a speaker, a trainer, a facilitator, and even as a friend, sister, daughter, aunt, when I identify and listen to my feminine or magnetic side, which I thought I needed to deny to be successful as an athlete and later in Corporate America (both areas which traditionally reward the dynamic over the magnetic).

Whether you're male or female, it seems that the magnetism of feminine energy might provide at least some great conversation.

What do you think? What are you seeing? I'd love to hear about your observations, both of yourself and those around you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Outgrowing your clothes - outgrowing your ideas?

Well, it's the week after Christmas and time for me to set my intentions for 2006. One of them will most certainly be to get to the gym regularly as I am really starting to outgrow my clothes (it happens to the best of us over time, so I'm told).

An easy excuse ... "it happens to the best of us." I'm sure I could dig up lots of reasons why it's OK and acceptable and even understandable that as I get older it's easier to stay further from the gym. And it would be "OK" to outgrow a pair of jeans here and there, right?

Well, why isn't it OK for us to outgrow our old ideas? We give ourselves leeway to gain a pound here and there, but we tend to hold ourselves hostage to "the way we've always done it." We're afraid - of what others will think, of what we might look like, of being wrong, of making a mistake. We apparently don't yet know that the only way to get beyond the way we've done things in the past is to make mistakes - and to learn from them.

I gave a presentation just before Christmas for the Fargo-Moorhead Advertising Federation called "It Takes Courage to be Creative" (I wrote about that topic several months ago on this blog). One thing that I re-discovered in preparing for that presentation was that it takes not only courage, but also destruction in order to be the most creative.

I first heard about that concept when I heard Rosanne Bane speak in September of 2004. She is the author of "Dancing in the Dragon's Den" (see her website here). From Rosanne I learned that in order to be the most creative, we have to destroy the old - the old thought patterns, the old ideas, the old ways of being. She talked about Jungian philosophy and the shadow side and lots of really neat concepts in a way that I really understood them, and have learned to incorporate them into my own life.

My friend Sheila Sornsin also figured this out when she launched her new company called "Big Break Amusing Mosaics." She and her business partner Ann apparently understand that to create a beautiful mosaic, you first have to destroy china or ceramic or other "whole" pieces. Although I haven't experienced the Big Break yet, I'm planning to celebrate my birthday there next week to see, firsthand, how therapeutic it can be to actually demonstrate this concept in action. I'll let you know how it goes!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Christmas and all That Jazz

Life is busy ... business is booming (which is a very good thing) ... I'm preparing a brand new speech for tomorrow called "It Takes Courage to Be Creative" ... I'm not done with my Christmas cards ... A former client called last week and wants me to present a "feel-good" couple of hours on WEDNESDAY (thank goodness it's something I've done before and don't need any prep) ... I haven't finished wrapping gifts (or buying them all, for that matter) ... I'm hoping to be able to do some baking on Thursday ... but ...


May you enjoy your holiday season - whatever holiday you celebrate. I'll be spending the Christmas weekend with my family and will be back to work on the blog, the book (yes, I'm really writing a book!), and some new workshops next week and into the coming year.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed to my blog in 2005. I'm so blessed and grateful for all the connections I've made here and look forward to meeting many more kindred spirits in 2006!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Increasing our Vocabulary

I've discovered a couple of words in the English language that I think we should start using more often because I love their definitions.

I’m guessing that very few people have ever heard of the word ENTELECHY (en-TEL-uh-kee) noun
1. Perfect realization as opposed to a potentiality.
2. In some philosophies, a vital force that propels one to self-fulfillment.
[From Late Latin entelechia, from Greek entelecheia, from enteles (complete), from telos (end, completion) + echein (to have).]

What if this word made its way into our businesses, organizations, and overall lives? What would happen if, in every encounter we have with people, whether in our offices, our families, our schools, our places of worship, we knew that all of us were aware of and pursuing entelechy? Would it change the way we view the people we live and work with?

The second word I really like is the word ALACRITY. Function: noun
Etymology: Latin alacritas, from alacr-, alacer lively, eager
:Cheerfulness; gaiety; sprightliness; more usually, a cheerful readiness or promptitude to do some act; cheerful willingness.

What if we knew that everyone in our workplaces and businesses and homes and community organizations were filled with alacrity? Just imagine the energy that would surround us!

Are you ready to play? See if you can use either of those words in a sentence sometime this week. Let me know what you notice!!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Identity Crisis

I just spent the week conducting supervisory training with two manufacturing companies in Minnesota. The training we were doing was leadership training to give them a technique for solving problems they have with people they supervise and one of the recurring themes was the work ethic of the "younger" workers.

One of them mentioned that when he was in his early 20's he moved away from Minnesota to take a job on the East Coast, and he said that at that time it was very easy for anyone from the Midwest to get a job out there because they loved that "Midwestern work ethic."

I've heard that from my peers as well. There's just something about the way we were raised, I guess.

But what I'm hearing from these supervisors now is that the younger workers - those in their early- to mid-20's - don't possess that same ethic. The man who went out East to work when he was younger said he even sees it in his own son. He, and others during this conversation last week, said that the younger workers seem to feel entitled and privileged and some of them seem to think the work is beneath them, even if it is their first job (apparently "older" workers know something about having to rise through the ranks in a certain order).

My question is about generations. I understand the Baby Boomer generation mentality I think. And I know there is a division somewhere in the mid-60's when it switched to the Gen-Xer's. But where do people my age fit in? I was born in 1963, so I'm wondering if I'm more a Boomer or more an Xer. When the supervisors are talking about the younger workers, am I the one talking or the one they're talking about?

I don't relate 100% to either group, so I'm wondering if there is a special designation for people my age. I think it's exciting to be where I am at the age I am right now. I see things quite differently from people just a few years older than I and I also understand a little bit about those just a few years younger. So maybe we are the bridge between the two generations and can identify with each so we can bring them together.

What are you seeing in your workplaces? I'd love to hear about it!