Last week was our annual manager’s meeting, held for the top 100 or so leaders in the company. It was an opportunity for me to meet a lot of people with/through whom I will need to work, and an opportunity for me to learn more about the company’s leadership principles.
While I won’t speak specifically about the company’s leadership principles, I will share some insights from the presentations by the facilitator and consultant. His team’s work is very much of the “The Power of Now” and Tony Robbins school of thought, which was much more “touchy-feely” than I would expect at a Swiss-based company!
Here are some of the insights I walked away with:
Common sense does not equal common practice
Initially, I felt resistance to some of the lessons being shared. “They are just spouting common sense!” I thought to myself. But then the facilitator made a great point: “Common sense does not equal common practice.”
So often, we already know the right thing to do. We do not need advice. We just need to do what we already know is right.
Business is about people and, thus, communication
Everything a business does is, at its root, about people and the relationships between them. Your employees are people. Your customers are people. There is no business without effective relationships between people.
Relationships between people are, at their root, about communication. You cannot not communicate. The basic responsibility of leaders is towards people and towards effective communication. Everything else is secondary to this.
Freedom is the ability to choose your response
Whenever you respond to a situation without thinking, whenever you instinctively respond to an external stimulus, you are being a victim. You can only be free when you exercise your ability to choose your response.
When you blame your response on the external factor – “he made me angry!” – you are being a victim. The anger came from within you, not from the external factor. Own it and examine what the root of your response is. Be response-able for it.
The solution is to move towards the challenge
As tempting as it is to pull back into our comfort zone and avoid the uncertainty or discomfort of a new challenge, that will lead us nowhere. Worse, trying to avoid the challenge will lead to our decay, because there is no “staying the same” in nature. The world is always changing and if we try to stay the same, we are actually degrading subjective to everything else.
Instead, we must lean forward and move towards the challenge. It will be uncomfortable, but once we are past it we will have discovered that we have learned and grown from the experience.