Archive for December, 2009

Are You Learning/Growing Enough for our Times? Take the Lifelong Learning and Collaborating Challenge!

December 8, 2009

People Whispering Tip :

I’ve had a lot of epiphanies lately so it was a bit of a challenge to choose among them for a topic for this month’s tip. Having too many simultaneous ideas and options is often one of my challenges in life. I like to create rather than follow through. I can follow up without too much difficulty, but there is an important distinction between following up and following through. Fortunately, I have people in my life who have taught me to do this more effectively and who are naturally good at follow through rather than creating such that we complement one another.

The importance of such distinctions struck me recently while having a coaching conversation with one of my clients who is experiencing a feeling of chronic impatience for not being where he wants to be in his career. At this point in time, he doesn’t really know where he wants to be which is even more unsettling. If he can sit with the ambiguity and allow a higher solution to emerge, then real progress will be achieved. That can be the challenge with attempting to truly collaborate as well. Sometimes you have to sit with the discomfort for real change to occur. Kudos to my client though for seeking out a sounding board, a source for resources, a person who will ask the questions and share the observations that no one else dares to offer for fear of reprisal, lack of skill, or even for lack of a vocabulary to put words to an intuitive knowing.

Ever notice how much easier it is to spot someone else’s issues and foibles than to identify your own? Maybe you are aware of yours, but are at a loss to know what to do to work with your strengths in a positive way while mitigating your weaknesses. The epiphany I want to write about has to do with this phenomenon. I want to offer a tip about the value of collaboration to solve this and other related challenges such that we learn faster and make the changes we need to make in a timely way. Radical and fast transformation is imperative in our current times.

As most people move through their lives, they develop habits and patterns of behavior that serve them well in a particular time period and/or environment. Yet many people fail to realize that they may need to change their minds continually about what they think is true or real both personally and professionally. It can feel threatening to expose yourself to new ways of thinking and being if you have not been doing so consistently throughout your life. If you do learn something new that challenges your current paradigm, it doesn’t make you a bad person or “wrong” for how you used to see things. Chances are you were doing the best you could with the awareness, energy, and information you had at the time. Parts of what you “knew” before are likely still correct within an expanded view. That said, I think it is a leader’s responsibility to keep learning and growing and exploring new territory whether the terrain be the business world, the world of health and medicine, technology, global politics, entertainment, whatever.

The ways to do this are endless today. Read books (yes, old-fashioned printed books) as well as learn from social and other forms of media. At the same time, know that everything you read must be considered from the point of view of the author or broadcaster or tweeter. Be discerning and look at the point of view from many perspectives. Travel internationally and meet people from different races, cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Exposure to diversity breeds an open and wise mind not just an intelligent one. I am continually astounded by the number of people who have blindly bought into the world view of their parents or the prevailing media world view without ever questioning the fact that new knowledge and experience may have been gained since they went to school or first started in their chosen field. Innovation never ceases and it’s a good thing. If it hadn’t, we might still be afraid to sail off the edge of the world of our flat earth.

At the same time, let’s be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ancient cultures and traditional wisdom have much to teach us in all arenas especially if we integrate the old with the new and employ the right tool for the right job. We must also get to the root of the issue and deal with the cause rather than just dealing with the symptoms. This can be uncomfortable, but it is the only way positive, sustainable change can take place. It’s easier to take a pill and relieve the pain and do that if you must while also addressing the real cause.

What has this got to do with business and training and coaching you might ask? And how does it relate to the multiple epiphanies I mentioned earlier? It relates in the sense that interaction is not in and of itself collaboration. We can know about different perspectives without really learning anything. In my work, I am interested in more than just having meetings and creating initiatives to improve performance. I am interested in transformation and authentic leadership which can only come from being continually willing to allow your mind and heart to be open and stretched into new vistas. It’s humbling and scary and exciting all at the same time.

Collaboration goes beyond interaction by asking that two or more people create something anew. It goes beyond conversation and sharing ideas although it must begin there. It may require a higher level of skill in terms of deep listening and conflict resolution. But most of all, it requires a willingness to learn and grow and to allow your mind to be changed enough that your wisdom can meld with someone else’s in a kind of alchemical leadership process. Are you up for the adventure?

DiSC Assessment Application:

An understanding of Everything DiSC Sales (see www.lauraadavis.com under Products and Assessments) has never been more important than it is today in our times of social media and information overload. Most people have been so overexposed to sales messages through electronic media that they have become allergic to selling. For instance, if I participate in one more webinar without content other than a thinly veiled sales pitch, I may scream. I take no issue with someone offering a product or service, just be clear about it while you also offer value-added information. In other words, if we really want to share products, services, and tools that we believe in, we will have to do so in the new “sharing” vs. “push” model.

This is where having an understanding of someone’s DiSC style can be invaluable. If I practice people-whispering and share my product or service’s benefits to you in your language and in a way you can hear it, I am supporting you in making an informed choice. I am serving you rather than selling to you. I have to have something to offer with substance, and the style in which I communicate it has got to be about serving you. Speaking someone else’s’ language engenders trust. If you leave out the manipulation and self-interest and show you genuinely care about me, it’s likely I will buy your story and your product.

As a gift to my clients as I begin my 15th year in business (yikes!), I am offering a complimentary 30 minute consultation to talk about how using DiSC with your sales teams might help you grow your revenues and improve your bottom line. Just call us at 404-327-6330 or email me at Laura@lauraadavis.com to schedule a time to chat.

Transformational Coaching Tip:

I always chuckle a bit when people complain to me about being at a stage in life where they have fallen into a rut. My life is ever new and “rutless” and could actually use a tad more structure and stability these days. So the challenge is always how to have enough of a routine while still keeping it fresh and new such that you are growing and changing and open to the possibilities without becoming overwhelmed and disorganized. Here are some tips to do just that:

1. See life (as well as collaboration!) as an adventure to be savored. Granted sometimes life is boring or painful but expecting the best does indeed attract the best to you even if you don’t see it at the time.

 2. Work on your confidence. Learn about self-talk and the power of affirmations. Remember the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could?” I used to love that story and its profound message. Take baby steps and manage the self-doubt and worry – lesser folks have done more with less.

 3. Let go of what others think. By this I mean be true to what brings you joy and honor what you are really passionate about. I don’t mean ignore what others think (remember to listen to challenge your point of view) but I do mean do what’s right for you. You don’t have to live in the suburbs and have 2.5 kids if you don’t want to but if you truly do, then go for it! Likewise, being different just to be different is a rebellious way to be just as tied to others’ opinions of you. Chart your own course with input from those you respect.

 4. Listen to your own inner guidance. Now I love my family dearly, but I must say this was not something that was encouraged or acknowledged as I grew up. That said, today there are so many powerful and wonderful tools and resources for developing your intuition. That doesn’t mean you should throw your critical thinking and analytical reasoning out the window either but be open to the miracles. I’ve had all kinds of multisensory experiences myself frequently enough to know they are real. I’ve also worked with high-level leaders who have confessed that their most brilliant moves were intuitively inspired. The scientific or mathematical analysis was then used to verify what they already knew in their hearts.

 5. Become a seeker or practical mystic. You can be practical and ambitious and have both feet firmly on the ground AND at the same time, explore the greater purpose and meaning of life. The financial crisis of the past 2 years has forced many people to reassess their values and priorities. Go one better and reexamine the nature of reality. Science is now revealing what spirit has known all along. Be a part of the grand and glorious ride.

 6. Keep reading this Ezine! Next month I will reveal 5 more ways to stay in touch with your aliveness and stay out of a rut.

HINT: Another key way is to appreciate everything in your life even if it isn’t exactly the way you want it yet (hint #2: that target keeps moving so enjoy the journey!)

With that, a very happy holidays to you and yours and thank you for being a part of my life! I appreciate you!