Friday, 28 October 2011

So, what's next on your leadership journey..........

So, you have tamed those Gremlins, noticed those habits that no longer serve you. You have become more self aware by taking training courses, hiring a coach, doing some leadership activities and continually practicing all the skills you have learned.

You are much more aware of who you are (self-awareness) and what's important to you (Values) you are making choices that serve the life you want to create (Vision of the future - based on your Values). You are noticing how you show up in relationship with others and the impact that you intend to have, you are also much more aware of who you are and how to be Authentically yourself. That unique amazing human being that was designed to be just perfect the way you are.

So what's next? Surely the next place to look is - What is the impact you want to have in your world? or the World? and how do you go about it? This is where the Leadership competency of Systems awareness is really important. Even when you are conscious and intentional about your impact, you could argue you are still in level 1, in your own opinion, judgements and experiences etc where you are the centre of attention. What we are looking for is for you to open your lens to take in a wider view of the world. Lets say a Metaview, where you and your world are just a small dot on the landscape of life and where you can have a much bigger impact than the boundaries of your small world.

With Systems awareness you are looking at the bigger picture, you are not just jumping in to fix symptoms. You look for the route cause. You are aware that the system design (be that work or life or even relationship, with yourself and/or others) and the way you operate is the cause of any issues or problems. You are also aware that it is new thinking and ways of being that will create a fundamental shift and you do not trying to work within the same old Paradigm(s). You know from within that you are able to create new systems, in any part of your life that will help you to naturally design the future you envision. You know that even making small changes in the current system will influence the outcome in the future.

You are able to think bigger than just what you want personally, you are able to think of the wider system (family, organisation or relationship) and you are able to see the connection between the long term well being of the community and its delicate relationship with that of the system that is in place.

If you score high in Systems awareness you know that you are an integral part of the whole, and that your actions both affect and reflect the systems larger culture. You are aware that cause and effect often are far removed in both space and time. It is clear to you that problems or issues can not be solved with the thinking that created them. You focus your legacy on contributing to the welfare of others and not on being remembered personally.

You are aware that you personally are a complex system, a mix of light and dark, strengths and weaknesses and that you reflect the world around you. You, once again, accept that when you see parts of other people you find unacceptable that it is just a reflection and points to parts of yourself that you have been unwilling or unable to take responsibility for.

Some of the behaviours that the above beliefs or operating system create are; you are aware that any relationship system needs to be constantly redesigned as we (those within the system) grow and evolve. You ensure that you have open dialogue about the long-term impact of current decisions. You take all the parts of the system into consideration when you start to plan your future, be it Organisationally, personally or in terms of your family. You include those people who are not directly in your system and try to consider the implications of your vision on them, even including them in the planning process - this could be Customer or Vendors if you are working within an Organisation or extended family or community members. You ensure that all the voices of the system are heard when making key decisions and you think about the wider impact of your decisions on the community and the environment.

Where is your Systems thinking limited?
Where do you take others into consideration?
Where are you tolerating a lack of awareness in yourself and others?
What's the gift of taking a Metaview on your life or any decision you a planning to make.
How will slowing down help?
What is the bigger picture?
Where do you want to have more impact your your community, relationships or the world?
Enjoy xx

Monday, 3 October 2011

The journey to Authenticity starts once you've established yourself in the land of self-awareness....

This is where I have been trying to get to for about the last 10 years, to be real and Authentic. I know in my heart and soul that being more of who we are naturally (on the inside) is the key to inner peace and outer success. As I write this, one question that keeps coming up for me is.....
How do you tell people what it feels like, its really hard to explain essence, essence in Systems Coaching terms..... the Systems coaches out there will tell you that essence is so hard to describe because it is exactly that... un-describable. Yeh, so that's the question, how do you tell people about the power of Authenticity when you know, they don't know, what they don't know.

For me Authenticity at the heart and is the heart of personal growth and human development. It takes courage to step into being more of who you are naturally, especially when most of us have allowed our Gremlins to run our lives for most of our time on this planet. Our Gremlins are more worried about what other people will think, and how they will judge us and whether or not we will succeed or fail and if we fail then what will happen....

Imagine how it could be if you focused all that wasted energy onto who you are and what you want to create. That is, to focus your energy towards conscious, intentional impact. This is what I mean when I talk about Authenticity.

Authenticity is your capacity to relate to others in an authentic, courageous and high integrity manner. It is a measure of Leadership that is an expression of your true self - not masked by politics, looking good or winning approval etc. It is also a measure of your willingness to bring up the 'un-discussibles' (risky issues that others avoid), you openly deal with relationship problems and share personal feelings and vulnerabilities about situations. Your inner and outer lives are congruent. Your behaviour matches your values and others trust that you can be counted on to keep your word, meet your commitments and deal with them honestly and fairly and remain true to your own purpose. Authenticity and Integrity are the qualities most desired in a leader.

Below are the internal assumptions that create authentic behaviours in people.

The internal assumptions associated with high levels of Authenticity are
- I am worthy whether people approve of me or not, whether I succeed or not
- Self worth, security and freedom and in my own hands
- I maintain my self-esteem and security by being true to myself
- My greatest source of power is my personal integrity (honouring my values)
- It is more important for me to be true to myself than it is to live up to other peoples expectations
- I am OK even if I make mistakes and hurt other peoples feelings
- I authentically admit my part in the problems we face
- The only way I lose face is by not being true to my Vision and Values
- Change starts with me, I must be the change I want to see in the world.

With those internal assumptions the behaviours that I demonstrate are as follows
- Being trusted by others (you make people feel safe)
- Having high personal integrity
- Directly and clearly addressing issues
- Speaking directly to issues without trying to smooth things over
- Acting courageously in personal interactions and meetings
- Respecting others opinions even if you disagree with it
- Staying open and honest about what you think and feel (even when you feel under attack)
- Managing conflict directly and openly with authenticity
- Surfacing issues that others are reluctant to talk about
- Speaking openly and confronting peers and authority when needed
- Being counted on to meet your commitments
- Exhibiting behaviour that is consistent with your Values
- Living your vision even when it involves taking risks
- Taking responsibility for your part in relationship issues

Where do you walk your talk?
Where do you struggle?
What happens when you are faced with inauthentic people?
How do you respond?
What is your role?
What is the value to you personally of being more of who you are naturally?
My Mantra is by being more of who I am naturally 'I can have more impact with less effort', that doesn't mean it is easy to undo the habits of the past.
What habits do you have left over from the past that no longer serve your vision of the future and the values you want to live your life by today?