The last time I blogged, I introduced you to “The 100 Year Life” a fantastic book, introducing a brave new world of longevity. Its theme being, that today’s youth can expect to live beyond 100 years of age – the key word there being expect – which in turn means our current three stage model of education, work, retire, is outdated.
The aim of my last missive was to ask how this impacts on our current leaders and what they need to do in order to flex their style and fit this new world order, focusing on an increase in empathy, the introduction of “strategic altruism” and the application of “beginners mind” to their thinking – if you missed it here’s a link.
But what about those who find themselves at the beginning of this journey? Can you imagine being an 18 year old faced with the prospect of living for another 80+ years? How do you even begin to think about planning to prepare for that?
Over the years I have had the wonderful opportunity of
facilitating brainstorming sessions. One
of my favourite tools to use, is Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats
Method. Our behaviour, not our words, is
the reflection of who we are. Six
Thinking Hats is a brilliant tool to structure in an objective way to include the
input from the individuals participating in the session and can give insight
into the reflection of their personalities.
The method refers to six hats that when we “wear them” we are obligated
to think in a specific way. The blue hat
is the leader hat that will control the discussion and the ground rules (only the
facilitator will wear this hat during the entire exercise), the white hat
requires pure objectivity and data driven comments, the red hat is our emotions
and how we feel about the exercise, the yellow hat is for positive thinking,
the black hat is for negative thinking or challenges we encounter during the
solution process and the green hat is for innovative thinking or often referred
to as “out of the box thinking”.
What follows are a few social conclusions that I have found in this exercise that relates to the teams’ general behaviour.
I intend to keep this blog short; I hope that is a pleasing first sentence. I want to toss you a tough piece of meat to chew on or, rather, give you a piece of astroturf to lay…
Last Week Tonight
Are you fans of UK satirist, John Oliver, and his HBO show “Last Week Tonight”? It is broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic.
For me, it is required viewing on a Monday night.
This week, after his usual verbal fusillade at President Trump, Oliver does a lengthy piece about something called “Astroturfing”. You can watch it here, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6rxztf. There is an ad for a web-site building business fronting the piece.
As ever with Oliver, his soliloquies contain some strong profanity. His frustration at the legal advice constraining him from saying what he wants to remark is palpable and a joy to watch.
Are you a “Yes-all the time-round the clock-person”? , Do you feel bad when you say No, so you immediately go to a “but” that opens a lines of real or unrealistics reasons to eventually say Yes?, Do you know why do you do it? Want to experience the “FREEDOM” that saying “NO” can bring to your life?, then let me share what I did to stop feeling guilty by really wanting to say no, and always ended up saying yes to everyone.
For some time now I have adopted the habit of working out early in the morning – usually around 5:00 am. This year and motivated by a close friend, I resumed running and it is impressive how it boosts your energy for the day and the myriad of ideas sparking in one’s mind with working out – there is a scientific reason for that but will not get into details here.
Chewing the fat with this same friend (who encouraged me to resume running) a few weeks ago, he mentioned that the Vicar of our local church and who was an avid runner himself, had prematurely passed away during one of his run earlier that week – heart attack while out running. On the Sunday after that, I went to this church with my son – aiming to participate the sermon but also expecting to hear his eulogy – something I came to know living abroad as it is not common in Brazil.
It was amazing. Whole community was there and his family too. In sum, the Curate conducting Sunday morning sermon said that he was
‘An example in many ways. A great and respected leader, head of family and a trustworthy friend who anyone could rely on for advice and support. A sporty man who loved run and occasionally spent time in the jazz club. A great reference to anyone he interacted with.’
His legacy! And, I believe, building his legacy was (consciously or not) what took him out of the bed every day!
We very often see and publish articles about leadership and what is expected from us in such roles. Less common are the articles about individual contributors and what is expected from them (us) in general. Do you consider yourself being a good Individual contributor?
Being an individual contributor doesn’t mean that we should act individually. It is empirically proved that we achieve greater results when we peer up and collaborate. Basis on that, we never stop being an individual contributor. Being a leader of others or leaders of leaders, we will still have peers. And, as member of a management team, we need to collaborate with them so our teams can deliver results which will support the overall business strategy. Yes, leaders are individual contributors.
So, what is expected from an outstanding ‘individual contributor’?
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent some time working with a regular client. They are an innovative and creative mid-sized company based over three countries.
While the training was very much focused on how they engage with their clients, one thing in particular struck me about what a great company they are. the range of people on the course.
The small group consisted of one person with “Executive” at the end of their job title, who had been in the organisation for ten months, as well as someone with “C” at the beginning of the theirs and who had been there for many years.
While the training wasn’t designed for a specific management level, I was surprised when I learned how senior that one participant was. The training itself was incredibly successful and the dynamics within the group open, free and courageous. The C-level employee told me how she had pushed to get on the course. She was trying to balance her desire to learn and improve while not taking a valuable place on a small and intensive learning experience really aimed at lower levels.