ENGAGING HUMAN PERFORMANCE TO DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE STRATEGIC BUSINESS RESULTS
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February 2008

ACTIONS THAT WILL BOLSTER YOUR BUSINESS AND PERSONAL KARMA

  1. Test your intelligence by challenging it, flexing it, extending it, giving it a novel work-out, or deploying it in an uncertain situation to create new and unanticipated value. The more you ask of your intelligence, the more it will give back.
  2. Give the best possible information you can to others. Be clear, complete, informative, incisive, and indicate what needs to be done. And always taper what you convey to what others need to know and perhaps want to understand, rather than just broadcasting your eloquence.
  3. Enjoy your eccentricities as well as those of others. We are a mass of eccentricities, they are the coordinates of our uniqueness. However as we revel in our own, let’s remember to also accept and enjoy those of others. None of us are ‘normal’, and the most abnormal things happen when we try to be.
  4. Provide some extra unexpected value to an external or internal customer. When they are positively surprised and ask why, you have a chance to let them know in what ways they are distinctively important and deeply valued.
  5. Volunteer at your child’s school. Make time, make a choice, make a difference. You will emerge with an expanded vision of life and the stakes involved in us adults being good life coaches, role models, and trustworthy friends.
  6. Whenever you read anything, a memo, a report, a book, a newspaper article, a love letter, remind yourself of the purpose for which you are reading. Then savor the reading and derive value from it accordingly. Pick the intensity of the reading, the mood, the ambience, and your quality of attention accordingly.
  7. Focus is the key to success — don’t do everything at once. You can ‘nibble’ at tasks that are peripheral, but really important work requires dedicated attention. Pick what matters most and commit your best energy to it. How long matters less than how well and how completely you immerse.
  8. Leaders often need to do strenuous mental work. We revitalize by shifting tempo and activities. Regularly, do something physically active that oxygenates the blood, allows you to sweat out stress and toxins, and gives you a glow of physical well being in the aftermath.
  9. Be open to improvising. So often we don’t know the answer, can’t imagine the right way forward, are ‘stuck’. So we do something, we adapt, we experiment, we take a chance, we stir the pot, we stimulate some reaction and create a way forward.
  10. Wherever you go, whatever you’re doing, see if you can leave a bit more joy in your wake than you found when you arrived. As a way to do this, notice people. The person who pours your water, or checks your ticket at the cinema, or sells you fruit on the street, or wraps your purchase…really SEE them, notice them, acknowledge them. It’s not only good to do, it’s great training.
  11. Take a hand-delivered thank you note to someone you want to acknowledge at work. Take a hand-delivered “I love you” telegram to someone you really love outside of work. Find the words, find the occasion, honor the person.
  12. It’s easy to babble over what someone is saying, or to leap to conclusions, or to listen half-heartedly. Not everyone manages to convey the fullness of their message in the first two sentences. Listen to the whole answer, listen to the whole message. As you hear more, you can do more with it.
  13. Galileo once said to his colleagues that they should assume their own theories were wrong and seek to disprove them. Only when they could no longer disprove them, but had no choice left but to accept them, should they say they were correct. This dedication to truth, this openness to find out the way things are, this openness to test assumptions and dig deep into situations, is something we have to foster in ourselves and our teams.
  14. Make meals a celebration. ‘Breaking bread’ together is an act of kinship and fellowship. We need to invest such times with attentive appreciation, rather than lackluster complacency. We all have to bring the fun in us and with us.
  15. Occasionally, break a pattern. Get up earlier than usual and go for a morning run with friends. Sleep a bit later that evening and listen to Beethoven’s Ninth. Read a point of view that challenges yours. Order something totally different at a favorite restaurant. Sleep on the other side of the bed. Change your ‘look’ for a day. Positively acknowledge something good in a person who infuriates you usually. Volunteer a favor for your spouse. Do something different in other words…as we expand our paradigms, we expand ourselves.
  16. When you get home, let your posture, your actions, your willingness to relax, your openness to engage loved ones, convey that you have returned to a glorious oasis, and to a wonderful opportunity to nurture and be nurtured…though sometimes to infuriate and be infuriated too if we’re honest! But take off your shoes, and take off your terminal seriousness and remove a few layers of your world weariness. Everyone has issues and problems. And you can help each other with them — but create a mood of community and connection first.
  17. Master a new skill, be it technological, artistic, business-related, interpersonal or otherwise. A new skill will require new thinking, fresh adaptation, necessary evolution. Not a bad collection of benefits to reel in from time to time!
  18. Become a connoisseur of language and communication. But also ensure your words reflect your real intent, and some of your compassion along with your intelligence. And the way to calibrate communication is always from the impact it has on others. Become a student of impact and you will invariably heighten your communication prowess.
  19. Make your work meaningful. Create a role to which you can fully give yourself — at least for some time. When you’ve found that, you can focus on truly growing, rather than just artfully coping. If you don’t find it ready made, help to design and invent it in a way that produces value for your organization and team.
  20. You can’t change what you can’t face. First accept yourself as you are. That will give you the energy, the motivation and the necessary self-confidence to create compelling change. If daunted, start small, but keep moving. Each bit of progress fertilizes our self-belief.
  21. One way to enlarge your own perspective, find someone who sees things quite differently, and engage with them until you can begin to at least glimpse the world as they see it. Then return to your own view and expand and enhance it from there.
  22. Get to know your team. Use projects as a way to build up a leadership and team culture that exemplifies the way you want to interact overall. Projects are a way to deliver results; they are also labs for how we wish to interact, communicate, engage and behave.
  23. When it’s salad instead of steak, enjoy the health-giving benefits, the lightness, the wellness, the pleasure of flooding your body with needed vitamins and minerals. When it’s steak instead of salad, enjoy the voluptuous delight, and let your enjoyment foster your sense of well-being in a different way. Either way, and in fact in every possible way, expand your capacity for joy.
  24. Be astute, be attentive, be present. Hone your powers of observation so you aren’t easily hoodwinked by appearances or seduced down blind alleys. Remember the wisdom that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave to his creation, Sherlock Holmes, “When you have eliminated what is impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Let’s be observant enough to spot the nuggets of insight and opportunity that so often await our discovery.
  25. We have to create possibilities, not wallow in obstacles. Never argue for limitations, look for ways to re-imagine and re-invent. We have to be architects, not just mechanics. Our job is to enroll and align others to help us imagine and then create the future.

MAY YOU HAVE A MONTH OF KARMA-FOSTERING LEADERSHIP LARGESSE!