Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Executive’s Executive Summary

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Don’t have time to read a blog, and just want the “Cliffs Notes” version?  Or, ready for a refresher?  Here is a synopsis of the 25 blogs (italicized) to date:

  1. Negative contributions present opportunities for change and can stimulate growth and development.  Who Peed on Your Seed? http://wp.me/p3kjLI-2
  2. Community-oriented environments rank as higher Quality of Life places.  From Brentwood to Brentwood, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-c
  3. Practicing healthy self-talk will lead you to success in your goals and desires.  Ergo Sum: Practicing Healthy Self-Talk, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-M
  4. The fears of Rejection, Losing, Being Wrong, and Emotional Discomfort surface daily in the workplace.  How Fear Interferes in the Workplace (& in Life), http://wp.me/p3kjLI-1b
  5. The organization is the product; therefore, it is more advisable to focus on the organizational culture prior to focusing on the customer and/or the product.  Identity is destiny.  Give Us Strategy! (Or Give Us Corporate Death!), http://wp.me/p3kjLI-1z
  6. An inclusive work environment promotes healthy conflict, i.e. Cognitive Diversity: challenges, inquiries, and push-back/dissent to the proposed strategies.  Workplace Xenophobia, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-1W
  7. The most effective team formation and culturally competent organization is one which pulls strengths from the “opposing forces” (i.e. varying temperaments) as though they are instruments in a toolkit from which to draw when faced with workplace challenges and clients.  The Four Temperaments & the Organization, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-37
  8. Women hold the keys for themselves to advance in Corporate America.  Leverage the “feminine” value of Collectivism (i.e. strengthen the Sisterhood) versus the “masculine” value of Individualism (i.e. Alpha Male) to rise.  Women in Corporate Leadership, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-3d
  9. Suspend judgment AND develop a thick skin.  Judgment Day, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-3A
  10. Bad news travels faster than good news by 75% to 42%.  Protective measures must be taken – several are provided for the individual AND the organization that would make Sun Tzu proud.  Termination.  Up in the Air? http://wp.me/p3kjLI-3L
  11. Each of the five stages of corporate growth must be understood and grasped in its complexity before a smooth and stable evolution can take place.  The Evolution of International Business, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-40
  12. For a healthy work environment, validation must replace workplace bullying – which was found to be 4X more common than sexual harassment and racial discrimination.  The Corporate Bully, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-4d
  13. Odds are in your favor that you can achieve what you expect to achieve.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #1 OPTIMISM, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-4t
  14. Incorporate more into your life that which leaves you feeling inspired. 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #2 ENTHUSIASM, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-4G
  15. It is paramount that leaders have a strong sense of Belief in self.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #3 BELIEF, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-4U
  16. A leader with unquestionable integrity is one who is trustworthy for others who may not have all the facts.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #4 INTEGRITY, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-5c
  17. The feedback process varies dramatically across the globe; so, practice what I call “Corporate Darwinism” and adapt to survive.  Feedback around the World, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-5m
  18. Courage is the willingness to take risks and overcome fears, even when the outcome is uncertain; AND, it is also the willingness to move forward on your values, even when you know the outcome will be unfavorable. 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #5 COURAGE, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-5G
  19. Self-Confidence is one of the three hallmarks of Self-Awareness – along with knowing who you are and keeping your ego in check (i.e. a realistic Self-Assessment, and a Self-Deprecating sense of humor). 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #6 CONFIDENCE, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-5U
  20. Emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are the external and internal motivators for determining a task/goal to its finish.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #7 DETERMINATION, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-6e
  21. Patience is directly correlated with our perception of time and our level of control over our environment.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #8 PATIENCE, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-6r
  22. Power can be derived from the centrifugal force of calmness. 10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #9 CALMNESS, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-6D
  23. Pronunciation can open and close doors to business and trust.  Accent Reduction in the Workplace, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-6P
  24. Having a firm and clear understanding of your purpose in life will give your life value.  10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #10 FOCUS, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-74
  25. Leaders are willing to explore a myriad of alternative explanations; not climb the Ladder of Inference.  The 11th Trait of a Positive Thinker: #11 CURIOSITY, http://wp.me/p3kjLI-7h

Thank you for reading.

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com.

©Rossina Gil, 2013

The 11th Trait of a Positive Thinker: #11 CURIOSITY

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This is your “baker’s dozen” on Scott Ventrella’s 10 traits of a positive thinker.  His list includes these following 10 traits:  1. Optimism, 2. Enthusiasm, 3. Belief, 4. Integrity, 5. Courage, 6. Confidence, 7. Determination, 8. Patience, 9. Calmness, 10. Focus.  The list would simply be incomplete without Curiosity as one of the positive traits a leader must have to be effective.  Genius Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “I have no special talent.  I am only passionately curious.”   

This blog addresses Curiosity in Leadership.  If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a leader who practices curiosity…

  • HUMILITY.  Do “tap into my ignorance” by asking for information on what I don’t know?
  • EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE.  Am I more curious than fearful to ask for clarification on something new?
  • SOCRATIC REASONING.  Do I inquire before I opine, or in lieu of advocating my beliefs?
  • LADDER OF INFERENCE.  Do I seek interpretation of behavior before making my conclusions?
  • PASSION.  Do I explore areas of interest without any other incentive than plain curiosity?

What I have found in my 15+ years of working with executives who excel as leaders is that if you have a question, then you must ask or research for the answer.  This is challenging because we all come with our own sets of “experiential baggage” which cause us to infer meaning from dialogue and behavior.  Leaders are willing to explore a myriad of alternative explanations; while others will clamor, “That’s not what s/he meant!” and will disgruntledly jump up the “Ladder of Inference” to settle conclusively on their beliefs.  Digging their heels into their beliefs assures them that they are right.

 

PERSONAL EXAMPLE

Growing up in Los Angeles, I was raised in a potpourri of diversity and in a dual-language home.  My environment was the perfect social laboratory for asking all sorts of questions, and, consequently in later life, I learned I sometimes need to stop myself from asking too much.  Moving to Nashville, I have encountered people who have been raised in largely homogeneous populations.  Most everyone with whom they socialize is more or less the same, so to join a “socialized circle” and act differently can be perceived as an affront or a threat to how “things work around here.” 

On one occasion, a fellow informed me that I use words that he did not understand.  “Like what?” I asked, thinking that perhaps I mentioned some Organization Development (OD) terminology, which is language used more commonly in my industry than in laymen’s speech.  He answered angrily, “Like SoCal.  I had no idea what you meant, and I got lost in your message.”  I apologized immediately, made a mental note to watch more carefully for non-verbal cues, and requested that he please make sure to stop me if I ever did it again and I will be more attuned to gauging his comprehension.  (Incidentally, when I first arrived to Nashville, several people referenced Vanderbilt University as “Vandy” – I had no clue what they were talking about, and, what do you know?…I interjected with a quick question for them to help me out.  There were no tears in my coffee over people using words that were unfamiliar to me).  The reflective question then is: How can someone feel so put-off by something so simple?  The answer is: What is simple for us may not be simple for others.  We, therefore, often infer the context of a situation based off of our own POV (point of view).  This is what we refer to in OD as climbing the Ladder of Inference.

Climbing up the six rungs of the “Ladder of Inference” begins at the base with Observable Data.  E.g. I hear you using language unfamiliar to me.  Then, it moves up the ladder with Select Data.  E.g. Out of everything you say that is so crystal clear, I am going to select one word that sticks out for me as unclear and generalize your communication as confusing and convoluted.  The next rung up the ladder is attaching Meaning.  E.g. What you mean to achieve by using that word “SoCal” is to exclude me from the conversation.  Rising up in a fury to the next rung is Assumptions.  E.g. I assume that you are attempting to render me as incompetent.  (Hear 16 seconds of what Samuel Jackson has to say about making assumptions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miPPQu2iqts).  This leads to the next rung up: Conclusion.  E.g.  I conclude that you believe yourself to be superior to me.  The highest rung is Beliefs.  E.g. I believe myself to be inferior, and I believe you to be arrogant

Self-awareness helps us clean up those “clogged pipes” from all the junk that gets stuck in the pipe we call “life.”  Unfortunately, that pipe gets carried into work.  True leaders manifest at least most of the 11 traits of a positive thinker.  Even if we, as leaders, don’t practice curiosity regularly, we can overcome our fears and negative beliefs with several of the other 10 positive traits, such as Optimism (giving someone the positive doubt) and Belief (choosing to believe there is positive intent).

Keep asking questions.  Be curious.  Think different(ly)*.

 

Thank you.

 

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com.

*(Suffix added for the Oxford English audience). 

Source:

My Pepperdine education.

 

©Rossina Gil, 2013

10 Traits of a Positive Thinker: #10 FOCUS

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We now reach the last of the 10 traits of a positive thinker, according to positive psychology author Scott Ventrella.  They are as follow:  1. Optimism, 2. Enthusiasm, 3. Belief, 4. Integrity, 5. Courage, 6. Confidence, 7. Determination, 8. Patience, 9. Calmness, 10. Focus.

This blog addresses Focus in Leadership.  If you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you may be a leader who role models focus…

  •  Despite the daily distractions, do I keep my eye on my goals and actively work on them?
  • Do I concentrate my energy where it will maximize efficacy?
  • Am I aware of what work I would choose to do, even if no one would pay me for it?
  • Do I have a sense of purpose, a clear plan/picture of how I wish to serve?
  • Am I engaged in activities that will get me closer to my purpose?

Spirituality comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning breath.  It is a “life-giving force,” or an animating principle.  It is this principle that motivates employees to continue to give, beyond the paycheck.  What is it that taps into your identity?…your core de vivreWhat gives your life value?  In Costa Rica, it is known as your plan de vida (i.e. life plan, or purpose).  What are your values?  Positive psychology theologian Norman Vincent Peale wrote, “Positive thinking brings the best values to those who are dedicated to achieving the best.”

Without a firm understanding of our own values and purpose in life, it would be difficult to lead.  My purpose is to help people get on top of their game and stay on top.  I believe in retention and development.  I learned that where there is a will there is a way.  Those who lose their will wither away.  Psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor Frankl witnessed this final atrocity in several concentration camps.  It is known as a spiritual marasmus – a psychosomatic response to losing the will to live.  Frankl survived the camps by focusing on seeing his wife again (she perished), and by focusing on writing a book based on his camp observations upon his release.

FOCUS IN ACTION

Peale: “When I think of the goal achievers I have known, they all had certain characteristics in common.   Always, without exception, they had a goal, not an indefinite, indistinct, fuzzy objective, but a sharp, clearly defined goal.  These high achievers never gave up, no matter how tough the going.”  Here is a terrific story on Focus, provided by EY: http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Business-environment/building-a-better-working-world-people-growing-a-business-through-hard-times

Focus on the actions that do move your work objectives or goals forward.  Stay centered on the part of the glass that is full, while strategizing on maximizing its capacity from implementing lessons learned from the empty side – then, like a Mafioso, “forget about it!”  Recognize →  Acknowledge →  Reward.  Dale Carnegie, salesman turned motivational speaker, shared his first principle towards success: Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.

Focus on the productive contributions…yours and others.  Work together to champion the rest.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.  CorporateLookingGlass.com.

Sources:

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster), 1981, pg. 18.

Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Boston, MA: Beacon Press), 1959.

Norman Vincent Peale, Why Some Positive Thinkers Get Powerful Results (New York, NY: Fawcett Columbine), 1986. Pp. 52, 77.

Scott Ventrella, The Power of Positive Thinking in Business (New York, NY: Fireside), 2001.

©Rossina Gil, 2013