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Powerful Leaders Inspire Others To Be Creative!

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/powerful-leaders-inspire-others-to-be-creative/

One of the greatest expressions to hear is members of a team saying that their leader inspired them to explore their innate creative abilities to bring new ideas to the table. Included in this week’s blog are four great TED Talks on Creativity to inspire your people to be “Possibility Thinkers!”

Carl Bass 

Luc de Brabandere

  • TED Institute – Reinventing Creative Thinking
  • Question: What are two questions you can ask your team to challenge their thinking about the company?

Peter Diamandis

  • TEDx Academy – Achieving Innovation
  • Question: How can you change your company from being “Linear” to being “Exponential”?

Patrick Meyer 

Bold Request: Have two intentional creativity conversations every day for the next 7 days with a member of your team.

Powerful Leaders Take Time To Self-Reflect!

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/powerful-leaders-take-time-to-self-reflect/

One of the key qualities of Powerful Leaders is their ability be constantly learning. One of the most important practices that they use for learning is “Self-Reflection”. On a weekly basis they schedule time to “Self-Reflect” to review their key learnings’ from the last 7 days. Three excellent “Self-Reflection” practices are:

  1. Identify moments of being “Emotionally Triggered”.
  2. Identify moments of being “Emotionally Energized”.
  3. Ponder thought-provoking questions

I will share personal examples to give you insight as to the power of making time to “Self-Reflect” as a way to be learning:

Identify moments of being “Emotionally Triggered”

Being “Emotionally Triggered” is when you get emotionally upset (resistance) about something. The resistance is trying to show you something about yourself that is a blindspot.

Example:

The other day I went to see the Doctor about an issue I had, so the Doctor sent me to go and get some tests done. So I went to go and get the tests done and the clinic was closed. I became “Emotionally Triggered”, meaning I became angry and blamed the Doctor for giving me bad information.

What was my key learning from this small incident?

My key learning was, be a master of the details!! You see, did I look at the information sheet that the Doctor gave me about locations of clinics and hours of operations where I could get my tests done. No, I took the Doctor at her word and put myself in action. Eric, stop relying on others for the truth of how to do something. Do your own “Due Diligence!” A very valuable learning experience.

 Identify moments of being “Emotionally Energized”

Being “Emotionally Energized” is when you get emotionally inspired by what someone tells you or from an experience you had. The positive energy is trying to show you an area in your life where you need to spend more time pondering to support your future.

Example:

I have been reading a book entitled, “The Courage To Teach,” written by Parker J. Palmer and the book has me engaged, reading it anytime I am not working. It has been all consuming for me.

What was my key learning from this small incident?

My key learning was, you are passionate about being an Extraordinary Teacher so it is time to raise my game to support my team and clients at being an Extraordinary Teacher. So from reading this book I have been working on implementing three new teaching strategies with my team of Executive Leadership Coaches to support our clients in having more engaging coaching sessions.

Ponder thought-provoking questions

The third “Self-Reflection” practice that I like to use in my weekly session with myself is to ask myself a series of “Thought-Provoking Questions” that get me to ponder my performance and areas for personal growth to support my career and my personal life. Here are the five questions I like to ponder:

  1. What is the future that is really calling me?
  2. What is one bold request I will make this week that will allow me to live in my future?
  3. What am I currently stepping over or not dealing with that is impacting my future?
  4. Are the key people who are in my inner circle pulling me into the future that I am creating?
  5. How many conversations did I have this week about the future that I am creating?

So in conclusion, I challenge you to set aside one hour a week to invest in yourself by developing a “Self-Reflection Practice” and try my three exercises and see what life wants to show you about yourself!

3 Roles of a Powerful Leader

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/3-roles-of-a-powerful-leader/

A Powerful Leader is someone who has the ability to create a compelling vision of a future possibility that inspires, engages and empowers others to take action. At Awesome Journey the team of Executive Leadership Coaches have worked with 1000’s of C-Suite Leaders and we see that there are 3 key roles that Powerful Leaders leverage to see their visions come to pass:

  1. Steward – cares for specific things
  2. Teacher – creates learning experiences
  3. Designer – of intentional conversations

Steward

As a powerful leader you take your role as a steward very seriously causing you to focus on two areas that you deeply care about:

  1. Supporting the growth and development of your staff through well defined and measurable “Learning Plans”
  2. Building and fostering a High Performance Culture by having intentional conversations around the company’s core values and purpose/mission

Teacher

The second key role that a powerful leader focuses on to bring the vision to pass is being an excellent teacher to their staff. As an excellent teacher you are disciplined at creating learning experiences for all staff. Three of the key skills that create and foster learning experiences are:

  1. Giving and receiving real time quality feedback around areas that others are doing well and supporting others in seeing their “Blindspots” to allow them to take their performance to a new level
  2. Weekly session to talk about key learning experiences each member of their staff had and learning experiences that the team had together and how they are using those experiences to move the organization forward
  3. Encouraging people to challenge the status quo by asking thought-provoking questions.

Designer

The final role that a powerful leader focuses on to bring the vision into reality is being a Designer of Intentional Conversations. There are several intentional conversations they are focused on having to ensure that the organization is High Performance:

  1. Creation of the Vision, Purpose and Core Values
  2. Strategies to execute the vision
  3. Systems, processes and Structures to support flawless execution of the strategic plan
  4. Clear agreements to support flawless execution

So I leave you with a question, “Which of the three roles do you need to focus on in order to support the transformation of your organization to the next level in performance?”

How Strong Is Your Technology Acumen as a CEO?

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/how-strong-is-your-technology-acumen-as-a-ceo/

As leaders of organizations it is imperative that we embrace technology as a powerful tool to grow our business in the “Digital Age”. How comfortable are you and your senior leadership team at using technology?  Below is a list of questions to evaluate your Technology Acumen:

  1. Do you use a mobile device as a daily business tool?
  2. Are you able to download applications on your personal computer and/or hand held device to support making you more efficient in your role?
  3. Are you using Skype as a tool to communicate with staff and clients?
  4. How often are your using Social Media – Linked-in, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or Snapchat as a way to connect with clients, colleagues or potential clients?
  5. Have you had an audit done on your company’s IT system and received some quality recommendations of how to leverage your IT system to grow your business?
  6. Is your company using “Business Analytics” as a strategy to connect with clients or to find ways to service your existing clients better because of the information you are uncovering from your “Business Analytics”?
  7. What do you know about storing data in the Cloud?
  8. How secure is your data and do you have a contingency plan in place for possible loss of data?
  9. Do you Blog or Video Blog?
  10. As a company can you articulate how your IT strategy is supporting your company’s ability to differentiate yourselves in the marketplace?

As a leader you do not have to be well versed in every aspect of technology, however, it is very important to identify the technologies that will have the most profound impact on the growth and sustainability of your organization and to attain the knowledge required to leverage the power of those technologies in our “Digital Economy”.

Question: Which area of technology will you focus on becoming more conversant?

Powerful Leader’s Know Their Why!

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/powerful-leaders-know-their-why/

A critical quality of a Powerful Leader is their awareness of their Why! Knowing your why is all about becoming aware of what deeply moves you; what gets you energized and passionate. As you look around in the world you will notice that those who are going about creating change, results and action are those that are deeply passionate about WHY they do what they do. It’s not what we do, or how we do it that defines us, but WHY we do it.

This YouTube video by Michael Jr – ‘Know Your Why’ is an excellent illustration of the power of knowing your why!

Michael Jr: Know Your Why

How does one discover their WHY?

Ask yourself these four discovery based questions:

  1. What energizes you?
  2. How do you like to connect with others?
  3. What is important to you?
  4. What topics do you ponder?

How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek

Finish this statement to create clarity about your “Why Statement”:

I am deeply passionate about ….

or

I am committed to ….

Powerful Leaders Have Great Executive Assistances


Powerful Leaders in the C-Suite understand that to be effective at getting results through others, they need to work as a team with a great Executive Assistant to accomplish key priorities and achieve desired results.

They recognize that a great EA brings exceptional value and is a full partner in achieving an organization’s goals through:

Trust

The most important component of an EA/Executive relationship is trust. If you have hired a competent and skilled EA, you must trust them and hand over control to manage daily tasks such as your calendar, your inbox and special projects that they are capable of accomplishing. If you don’t trust your EA, you don’t have the right person in the position.

Communication

Executives often don’t communicate enough details and provide background information to their EAs to ensure that they are as effective as they can be at supporting us to achieve our goals.

Getting to Know Each Other

Getting to know each other on a personal level will not only make your work life more pleasant, it will enable your EA to make better decisions on your behalf and to better foresee your needs. Before you know it, they will know what you need before you do.

Listening

Listen to what your EA has to say. Experienced EAs are a wealth of knowledge about what is going on in the organization and they are in tune with your clients’ needs. Ask their opinions and thoughts on work related projects. They will appreciate being heard and it will encourage them bring more innovative ideas to the table.

Question:

What area will you work on with your EA this week to ensure that you are a truly effective High Performance Team?

Great Leaders are Masters of Building Relationships


Great Leaders understand that without TRUST there will be no relationship with another that will generate action and quality results. Just ask Tiger Woods and Penn State University after they destroyed relationships of trust with key sponsors to their brand. No Trust, no relationship, no results!!

At Awesome Journey, we see TRUST not as a moral issue but as a risk assessment tool. What we mean is that when you say that you trust someone to take action on a certain issue, what you are saying to yourself and others is, “I know that there is a very high likelihood that the person will accomplish the task as promised.”

TRUST consists of three key building blocks:

  1. Competency (I can do what I say I can do)
  2. Reliability (I will do what I say I will do)
  3. Authenticity (I am who I say I am)

Before you condemn someone who is important to you by saying, “I can’t trust this person”, ask yourself was it a breach or a betrayal. If it is a betrayal – the person lied to you, stole from you or damaged your reputation, end the relationship. If it was a breach, ask yourself which building block of trust needs work in order for this person to be more trustworthy in your eyes.

To build trust with others who are on your team, personally or professionally, practice giving them feedback of ways that they can build their TRUST with you – Competency, Reliability or Authenticity.

Challenge: Within the next 7 days, ask 3 people for their feedback as to where they feel you need to improve in your ability to be Trustworthy with them – Competency, Reliability or Authenticity.

Powerful Leaders Support Their People


One of the ways that Powerful Leaders support their people is by allowing them to experience failure, but never allowing them to believe that they are a failure!

Many people believe that failing and failure are one and the same; not so in my world. They are two distinct events. Failing at something is part of a “Learning Process” to achieve competency, which takes time. Believing that you are a failure is a mindset that causes one to become STUCK.

To become effective at shifting one’s mindset from believing that you are a failure to believing that you are a creator of infinite possibilities requires quality support of others. Each of us needs to surround ourselves with support network who can be there to encourage and inspire us when we have forgotten our greatness in our various learning adventures.

Today I would like to honour two powerful leaders that have supported me along my learning journey to becoming a Powerful Leader myself:

Jim Grieve, was my first real boss. Jim hired me to work in his grocery store when I was 14. At age 16, I had a run in with the police; Jim found out about it and called me into his office. I thought I was getting fired. He said to me, “How can I help you deal with your situation?” I was shocked. I thought he was taking me into his office to fire me. I will never forget what he said to me that day, “Eric, we all make mistakes, but I know you are a responsible young man and I believe in you. How can I support you?” Jim believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself; and as a result, he had a profound impact in turning my life around for the good.

Dr. Len Hill, was my fourth year thesis advisor at University of Calgary. At that point in my life I was very fearful about writing essays. Part of the reason why I chose to get a degree in Geology vs. a degree in Business was because I wouldn’t have to write essays in the faculty of science. In fourth-year, the Faculty of Geology chose 10 out of the 45 students to write a four-year thesis and I was one of them.

Imagine my horror when Dr. Len Hill called me into his office and said to me, “Eric, I would like you to write a four-year thesis, and I would like to be your thesis advisor.” I was shocked and scared because in my mind I didn’t know how to write an essay, not to mention a 50 page essay. I told Dr. Hill my fear and I will never forget what he said to me. “Eric, you are a talented young geologist and I like the attitude and commitment you show to becoming a geologist. I believe in you, and I am committed to supporting you by guiding you in unlocking your hidden ability to express yourself through writing a quality fourth-year thesis that I know you are capable of!”

The rest is history; I wrote the fourth-year thesis and I got an “A”! Dr. Len Hill believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and it transformed my mindset, allowing me to start my own company 20 years ago, write a book on Leadership and be successful at raising three great children who are all budding entrepreneurs.

Challenge: Who will you support this week in allowing them to experience failure and support them in believing in themselves?

Face Your Fears


One of the great qualities of Powerful Leaders is their ability to “Face Their Fears,” to grow their business. Every day Leaders of Business are making investments in their future that require taking risks such as, hiring new people, opening new markets, embracing new technologies or downsizing to adjust to market conditions. Any time we take risks, we “Face Our Fears,” which can be hard.

As a business owner for 20 plus years, I know firsthand that when I take a risk to grow my business, I have to “Face a Fear” of some sort and it can be hard to step into the unknown with curiosity vs doubt. I challenge you to push yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually to step into the unknown with curiosity vs. doubt and watch your world open into new possibilities in your business and your life.

In 2013, I went on a hike to Mount Yamnuska in the Canadian Rocky Mountains with my wife. When we came to a difficult section where I was asked to cross a 100 foot ledge that was 8 inches wide by holding onto a chain that was bolted into the rock, I said “Absolutely not!” This experience really made me “Face My Fear.” We called it a day and hiked back down the mountain. At the car Heather said to me, “As a Business Coach, you challenge your clients to embrace their fears. Would you be willing to plan a future hike back to Mount Yamnuska to “Face Your Fear?” I said, “Absolutely!”

Six months later, I was able to “Face My Fear” and I made it across that 100 foot ledge safely by asking for support from a friend who is an expert Mountain Climber. As you see in the photo, I was in a climbing harness and tied to a chain, minimizing my risk and giving me the gratification of achieving my goal.

I am telling you this story because it is a metaphor of what a lot of my clients deal with on a regular basis – Facing Our Fears and moving forward when we are scared by reaching out for “Support” from trusted friends and advisors to achieve their goals and commitments. As a Business Coach, I say to my clients, “I am ok that you get scared, but it is not ok to stay stuck because of being scared. Ask for support and move forward!!”

Challenge: Within the next 7 days, challenge yourself to “Face A Fear” you have in your business by asking for “Support” from others to help you step into the unknown with curiosity vs. doubt to move forward. Once you have accomplished your goal, take 15 minutes to do a self-reflection exercise and ask yourself what this experience taught you about yourself that you didn’t know until you took the challenge. Growth and Learning come when we are willing to “Face Our Fears” with curiosity vs doubt!

Are you stuck?

https://www.awesomejourney.ca/are-you-stuck/

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Effective Leaders generate ACTION. You can measure effective leadership by the quality of action generated to produce specific results. So, when a company, team or organization is not achieving its goals, fulfilling its promises or producing results, I assert that it’s a lack of leadership due to its inability to generate ACTION! Absent conscious action, we find leaders reacting, or engaged in a analyzing why there’s not action – lots of activity, but no action and few results. Indeed, most find themselves stuck and do not know it.

 

What causes Leaders to be stuck?

Leaders get stuck when they move from being empowered to being entitled. In fact, we say they’ve become a VERB. Listen carefully; it is easy to hear a VERB.

 

Example:

I arrive for a client meeting and I am told that they have mis-scheduled my appointment. I leave upset so I call my assistant and blame her for not confirming the appointment and wasting my time.

 

A VERB is an acronym – a way of Being. It is who we become when we get stuck.

A VERB is an acronym for:

V = Victim – (This is a persistent complaint; no one appreciates me)

E = Entitlement – (I deserve ___________)

R = Rescue Me – (Someone needs to get me out of this mess)

B = Blame – (It’s not my fault, something’s wrong with you, them or it)

 

VERBS are enforced by your perceptions of how things “should” be. That little voice in your head that says: “There is a way things should be, and when they are, things are right. When they are not that way, something is wrong with you, them or it!”

 

A VERB finds you STUCK in this reinforcing thought:

 

Why did this happen to me? – What’s wrong? – Who’s to blame? (someone else or circumstances)?

 

Breaking free of your VERB mindset requires transforming your reinforcing thoughts with a new ACTION language:

 

What happened? – What’s missing? – What’s next?

 

What Happened? – If you are committed to action, observe only what was said or what was done. Notice if you begin to ask “why” something happened. That leads to an interpretation, not a fact. Focus again on just “What Happened?” Be aware of your interpretations. They move you into a story “about the facts”. Remember, your story will keep you stuck. To generate action, focus only on what was observable. Stop, pause, and declare: What happened? Next, look at the facts and what was actually said.

 

Example:

You are excited to share an idea with your boss. You stop by her office to share your cool idea and she says, “Not now, I am too busy to talk. Get back to me later!” You leave dejected. Immediately you begin to think, “She rejected me, or I feel lack of appreciation.” You might also think, “Why bother? My ideas are not important to my boss.”

 

Notice that you are now thinking about “what this means.” Stop, pause and return to “what happened?” In this example, what happened is what was said: “My boss said she was busy and to get back to her.”

 

What’s Missing? – Here you are concerned not with what is wrong (which is where most leaders go when a problem or failure occurs), you are focused on discovering what’s missing, which has something to do with a key conversation. Yes, fundamentally, a conversation for action is missing. Key conversations for action include a Request, a Promise or an Offer.

 

Example:

So instead of getting wrapped up in your own story, you simply make a clear request to your busy boss and ask, “When would be a better time for you and I to discuss my cool idea about marketing to new potential clients?” And your boss comes back with a promise to meet you at 3pm this afternoon. You walk away feeling engaged to share your cool idea with your boss at 3pm. You are excited.

 

What’s Next? – Again, what’s next is always a conversation that will forward action. Email a clear request to ask your busy boss for a time to meet to discuss your idea, “When can we meet this week to discuss my idea?”

 

Your leadership depends on your capacity to communicate action and create conversations that move things forward. Here, you are focused on creating action rather than focusing on your story about your boss. Remember, your story constitutes you as a VERB. Instead, a conversation for action generates results. By practicing the script, What happened? What’s missing? and What’s next? – you will find you become decisive, proactive and able to transform stuck into ACTION!

How self-aware are you when you are STUCK?

 Homework: For the next day count how many times you get – “Emotionally Triggered” during the day. This is a key indicator of being STUCK.

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