The Paradox of Servant Leadership

Why Care, Compassion, and Accountability Are Engaging

Photo by Cam Bradford on Unsplash

I’m always reflecting upon service. It’s always been a big part of my life. I started out in the “service industry” at 16, and never, really, ever looked back.

What I’ve been reflecting upon even more recently, is just how important service is in, well, everything we do. It’s not just about the work we do, in the professional sense.

It’s more about all of the work we do. All of it. And, it starts with each of us, and how we take care of and, in effect, serve ourselves. Really.

I was telling a colleague of mine today, as they prepared to train a group of local leadership, that in order to hold other people accountable, we must first hold ourselves accountable. It’s how it works.

Something this colleague knows very well indeed.

And, as was aforementioned, service is no exception to this rule. In order to serve others, we must first learn to serve ourselves.

Photo by Jernej Graj on Unsplash

We are all looking for places to serve. Places where we can make a difference, where we can be a part of something larger than ourselves. A paradox? Yep.

Because in order to be a part of something larger than yourself, you must first be in touch with yourself, know yourself, treat yourself with love and kindness, and hold yourself accountable to a standard.

A standard that is engaged with and committed to creating and effecting change. Changing that which we know, the status quo, with something, well, quite different.

Within this possibility, there are innumerable opportunities to serve. Fun.

Alright, ready? Good. Here we go.

Servant Leadership

I’ve written a couple of articles about servant leadership, which includes, The Blog + Video Series #14: Servant Leadership: A Practical Leadership Style for Life and Work.

The basic tenant of servant leadership is that service is paramount to leadership as a philosophy and a practice. Both.

That to lead, we must lead from a perspective that fully understands that nothing happens without the entire team; and, that, it is because of each team members contribution to the team that movement and traction are even possible.

Servant leadership upends the traditional leadership hierarchy, putting the needs of front-line workers first. Important.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

And, as we’ve already discussed, servant leadership is, both conceptually and practically, a leadership style that works for all aspects of life.

When we take care of ourselves and lead from within, we can then take care of others and lead from without. If not, well, true leadership of any kind is impossible.

Sometimes there is confusion about servant leadership.

Meaning that people sometimes connect servant leadership to a laissez faire type context. And, servant leadership both conceptually and practically is far from that type of context.

In fact, a servant leadership context will often be full of standards and expectations that are higher than other leadership contexts. Yep. Common. Why?

Well, inside of serving, as was aforementioned, is the need to create change. Creating new possibilities, new ways of communicating, new ways of, well, doing most things.

When you create a context that is committed to changing the status quo, no matter how small or large that change is, there have to be higher standards and expectations.

And, in some cases, the highest standard must be demanded. Why?

Photo by john vicente on Unsplash

Because there is so much more to accomplish. That’s it really. More work, more movement, more traction, more change. Amazing.

And, where there is change and innovation of this magnitude, there must be great care, compassion, and accountability, both for the self, the team, and the organization. And, yep, for the nation, and the world too.

Care

What is engagement, really? When you think about that word, what do you see, or think about? Hm.

For me, I think about contexts that are brimming with challenges and difficulties, yep, and celebrations. Why?

Because when you are truly engaged with yourself, and the people around you, you will experience both. You have to.

Being engaged, is living a full life, and the giving out of that life to everyone around you. It is extremely fun and rewarding and, yep, also difficult.

All service, regardless of the context, professional or personal, requires determination, persistence, and resilience. Oh, and great care. Yep.

When you are engaged, you care. Simple. Oftentimes, people get confused and think that when things are difficult that there is a problem. A paradox? Yep.

Photo by Zach Vessels on Unsplash

When things are difficult, you are engaged, you are doing, and you are creating. No problem here.

When are there problems?

Well, if you subscribe to notions of problems, then the only time there are real problems is when there is disengagement. Where things are easy, moving simply, no speed bumps. Why?

Because, if there are no issues, nothing to overcome, then, nothing is really happening. Yep.

Now, that’s not really a problem either. Not really.

It’s only a problem if you are looking to be engaged. I always know when I am most engaged at work or in my life. How?

Because there is always, and I mean always, something to celebrate, and something to overcome. A challenge, always.

These engaging contexts also require, as was aforementioned, great care. Really. Why?

Because when you are fully engaged, and are working through issues that arise, care about all things and everyone, yourself, and all those around you, is always there.

And, that is because you are going through something.

You are developing, iterating, and, yep, in some cases, even transforming. Beautiful.

Photo by Gita Krishnamurti on Unsplash

Compassion

Because a servant leadership context is a highly engaging one, where people will bring their all every day, compassion is also required.

Compassion for yourself, for how very, very hard it is sometimes, and for those around you. Sometimes, people will decide it’s just too much, and that is okay.

There was a time when I desperately wanted everyone to stay. And, I would coach people endlessly to this end. No pun intended.

Yet, a servant leadership context is not what everyone is looking for, and that is also okay. Knowing this releases you and everyone else from an obligation that truly doesn’t exist.

And, practicing compassion is what that looks like. Understanding that people will leave. And, guess what?

It’s better for them to do so.

Better to find a context that suits them more, feels better to them, and will in the long run be much more beneficial for them. Important.

Accountability

One of the most paradoxical aspects of servant leadership is in the area of accountability. And, there was a time where accountability within a servant leadership paradigm also confused me.

The bottom line?

Accountability matters. People actually want to be held accountable to a higher standard. Knowing that their work and service, whatever it is, is making a change in the world.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Again, no matter how small or large that change is, matters much less, than that people get to participate in something that, yes, inspires them, and, even more importantly, actively creates change in the world. Fun.

It is a ton of work. Yep. Yet, who ever said that life was supposed to be easy?

I know. That is such a cliche, and yet it does work here.

Think about any change, nay, think about some of the largest institutional and cultural changes of all time. Now, answer this question.

Were they easy?

Nope, not a single one. They are not supposed to be. Therefore, having a high standard and instituting accountability is not only needed, it is also positively reinforcing the servant leadership context that has been created. How?

Because serving yourself, setting the highest standard for yourself that you can, means that you will also set that same standard for the people around you. And?

They will rise to meet it, just as you are.

For more on Servant Leadership check out these resources.

#accountabilityandleadership, #careandleadership, #compassionandleadership, #creatingchange, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #servantleadership, #teamdevelopment

The Transformation Video Series #2: Leadership, Transformation, and Becoming An Agent of Change

The Transformation Video Series #2

#changeagency, #changeagent, #covid-19leadership, #createthefuturefromthefuture, #creatingchange, #leadershipandtransformation, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmin, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #lettinggoofthepast, #persistencewithoutresistance, #questioningourbeliefs, #recreatingourbeliefs, #transformationalleadership

The Blog + Video Series #12 – Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

The Transformation Video Series #1

Have you ever thought about the difference between developmental growth and transformation? Or, have or do you consider them the same? Hm.

There is an important distinction between developmental growth and transformation, which is important to both personal and professional development. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s define the terms.

development

Translate development into Spanish

NOUN

  • The process of developing or being developed.‘she traces the development of the novel’
    1. A specified state of growth or advancement.‘the wings attain their full development several hours after birth

transformation

Translate transformation into Spanish

NOUN

  • Thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
    1. A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’

Ah, do you see the dinsticiton? Either way, let’s work it through.

Development

When you are interested in development, meaning available to it, you occupy a space that welcome’s learning. You stand outside of what you believe to be true about the world, and how you occupy it, and welcome new knowledge, new types of understanding, and new ways of being. Simple. Or is it?

Well, because we have an ego, or, wait, do we? Well, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume we do. Because we have an ego, we don’t like being wrong.

We are constantly seeking validation of what we know. Why?

Because it fits into our worldview. It is what we know. When information comes in, we assemble it into the the narrative of our worldview and who we believe we are. We confirm our ego.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iulia-mihailov-91racj7xmxe-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash

If the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, we really only have two choices.

Deny the existence of this new information, or become open to it.

Denying this new information is called denial. We are actively denying that another way to look at a situation or event is possible. Egocentric.

However, when we are open to the possibility that there are other ways to think about a situation or event, we have now entered into the developmental arena.

Meaning, that we can now take this new information in, make sense of it, and do something with it.

Even if the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, if we are open, we can incorporate it into our worldview rather easily. It is all about being open to new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The simplest example is to consider development at school and work. When we are confronted with new information, we have a choice. Assimilate and incorporate that new information into our existing worldview, creating new knowledge, or reject it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is saketh-garuda-shy-ckpyjre-unsplash-1.jpg
Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

Example.

I am always in conversation with the team about our goals, objectives, and priorities. Recently, I was asked about hiring someone to run Zoom technology for the upcoming professional development trainings.

I, however, was unsure about the need. Didn’t know. I needed to think about it.

Well, the next week, I ran a Zoom meeting with the team. The meeting was 90-minutes and was about creating our next 30-day priorities. Part of the meeting was creating breakout rooms, which you can do in Zoom. The meeting was a complete disaster. Really, it was. What did I learn?

That you absolutely need someone to run technology while the person running the meeting does just that, runs the meeting. I learned through doing the meeting that hiring someone for a Zoom tech position was absolutely necessary. We are hiring someone right now.

I moved from questioning the need, reflecting upon it, to learning that we definitely needed the new position. I developed.

Alright, that’s development. Opportunities for development are available every day. If you don’t see them, it might be that you are avoiding them or in denial about them. It’s not a demerit. I didn’t develop for a long time. Really. I wasn’t interested. Not a judgement. Just a fact. Let’s now look at transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is suzanne-d-williams-vmkbfr6r_jg-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Transformation

Now, transformation implies a complete change to the object, thing, or person. Yep, that’s right. How then does transformation differ from development?

While development requires an active openness, as we’ve discussed, transformation requires openness and a complete and total letting go of what was, in favor of what will be. It requires a shift from a focus on the external to the internal.

Transformation is about questioning all you know. Every ounce of what you know, or beleive you know, must be questioned.

Further, you must be willing to let go of how you previously viewed the world. Open to a continual process of creating new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The distinction is that with transformation you actively seek out opportunities to question the ways you think, act, and occur. Internally focused.

You are continuously interested in disrupting your old habits and ways of thinking while creating new habits and ways of thinking.

Let me give you an example to help with the distinction.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is disruptivo-i0ypwvhnzni-unsplash.jpg
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

Let us say you want to develop leadership skills. You can develop leadership skills in lots of ways. You can take classes, read books, even put leadership principles into practice in your life. That is development.

You incorporate new information into the preexisting way you already think about leadership. Simple. How then to create transformation? Mm. Different.

You must be willing to let go of all of your preconceived ideas about what leaders are supposed to do, how they are supposed to act, and how they are supposed to be. All of them. Then what?

You leave your ego at the door.

And, everything you think you know about leadership. Start over. Really. Let it all go. And, create from there.

Transformation can only occur when we let go. Know also that the letting go will need to happen again, and again, and again. Over and over. Why? Because you are disrupting what you held to be true, and creating something new. Key. You are not adding, you are creating.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arnaud-weyts-4hbszgi3z0c-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Arnaud Weyts on Unsplash

Example

Let’s see. Okay. Here we go.

When the pandemic began here locally, we were approaching the last week of the term at the community college where I work. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work in community and continuing education. It is all experiential. All of it. Which means that it is in-person. All of it is, or was.

Within one month of the pandemic beginning here, we let go of all the concepts we held to be true about our business model. All of them. What happened?

We created an entirely new business model. A model that is transformational, as all aspects of it are completely different than the previous model. All of them.

We created all new processes and systems for how we do business. New ways we market and engage with the local community, new ways that instructors teach their classes, even the content that is delivered, while similar, is still completely new. Why?

Because a completely new context has been created. And it was created intentionally by believing something else was possible. Which then replaced our current belief system of how we all viewed our work.

All of us. now our actions follow that new belief system. That is transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-theodore-hbkwmj41y0i-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

When you intentionally create new ways to be, new ways to think, new ways to believe, new ways to be a human, you are creating contexts that are transformational. Never seen or experienced before. Transformation.

How are development and transformation similar?

One key way. When you develop, whether you want to or not, you give out your development to others. If those around you are open, they will learn from you and also develop. And, it is the exact same for you. If those around you are developing, and you are open you will also develop.

It is the same with transformation. If you are creating transformational contexts that change the nature of what’s possible, those around you, if they are open, will also transform. If they are open. If not, then they won’t. Same for development.

Can development lead to transformation?

Oh, yes, absolutely. In some ways, they sort of go together, which is why I wanted to write about the distinction. Whereas they are different, they both are about being open to and participating in creating change.

Here is a distinction on the difference between change and transformation.

“Change is about using external influences to modify actions to achieve desired results. Transformation is about modifying beliefs so that natural actions achieve the desired results.”

cioinsight.com

See the difference? One is externally driven, and one is internally driven. Very similar to the distinction between development and transformation. Important.

How do you begin to develop or transform?

Really it’s pretty simple, yet not easy. A paradox, yep. My suggestion?

  • Be open to everything around you. Being open is probably the key to both development and transformation. Both become possible when we are open to new information and new experiences.

When we are open, the world opens up. It really does. There is so much to learn and to experience. Being open creates an immediate possibility. The possibility that you will learn to be more. More of either how you already occur, or more by occurring in a completely new way in a completely new context.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

#changemanagement, #creatingchange, #creatingtransformation, #developmentalgrowth, #distinctionbetweentransformationanddevelopment, #handlingchange, #leadership, #leadershipcahange, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershippractice, #leadershipprinciples, #leadershiptransformation, #leadershipvalues, #personaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #transformationalleadership

Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

The Transformation Video Series #1

#creatingchange, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #growing, #growth, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #teamdevelopment, #transformation, #transformationalgrowth

Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is franck-v-miwgz02clki-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about the difference between developmental growth and transformation? Or, have or do you consider them the same? Hm.

There is an important distinction between developmental growth and transformation, which is important to both personal and professional development. Let’s take a look.

First, let’s define the terms.

development

Translate development into Spanish

NOUN

  • The process of developing or being developed.‘she traces the development of the novel’
    1. A specified state of growth or advancement.‘the wings attain their full development several hours after birth

transformation

Translate transformation into Spanish

NOUN

  • Thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.‘its landscape has undergone a radical transformation’
    1. A metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.‘Both the molting process and the metamorphic transformation from larva to pupa are coordinated and regulated by hormones.’

Ah, do you see the dinsticiton? Either way, let’s work it through.

Development

When you are interested in development, meaning available to it, you occupy a space that welcome’s learning. You stand outside of what you believe to be true about the world, and how you occupy it, and welcome new knowledge, new types of understanding, and new ways of being. Simple. Or is it?

Well, because we have an ego, or, wait, do we? Well, for the purposes of this post, let’s assume we do. Because we have an ego, we don’t like being wrong.

We are constantly seeking validation of what we know. Why?

Because it fits into our worldview. It is what we know. When information comes in, we assemble it into the the narrative of our worldview and who we believe we are. We confirm our ego.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is iulia-mihailov-91racj7xmxe-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash

If the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, we really only have two choices.

Deny the existence of this new information, or become open to it.

Denying this new information is called denial. We are actively denying that another way to look at a situation or event is possible. Egocentric.

However, when we are open to the possibility that there are other ways to think about a situation or event, we have now entered into the developmental arena.

Meaning, that we can now take this new information in, make sense of it, and do something with it.

Even if the information doesn’t fit into our current worldview, if we are open, we can incorporate it into our worldview rather easily. It is all about being open to new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The simplest example is to consider development at school and work. When we are confronted with new information, we have a choice. Assimilate and incorporate that new information into our existing worldview, creating new knowledge, or reject it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is saketh-garuda-shy-ckpyjre-unsplash-1.jpg
Photo by Saketh Garuda on Unsplash

Example.

I am always in conversation with the team about our goals, objectives, and priorities. Recently, I was asked about hiring someone to run Zoom technology for the upcoming professional development trainings.

I, however, was unsure about the need. Didn’t know. I needed to think about it.

Well, the next week, I ran a Zoom meeting with the team. The meeting was 90-minutes and was about creating our next 30-day priorities. Part of the meeting was creating breakout rooms, which you can do in Zoom. The meeting was a complete disaster. Really, it was. What did I learn?

That you absolutely need someone to run technology while the person running the meeting does just that, runs the meeting. I learned through doing the meeting that hiring someone for a Zoom tech position was absolutely necessary. We are hiring someone right now.

I moved from questioning the need, reflecting upon it, to learning that we definitely needed the new position. I developed.

Alright, that’s development. Opportunities for development are available every day. If you don’t see them, it might be that you are avoiding them or in denial about them. It’s not a demerit. I didn’t develop for a long time. Really. I wasn’t interested. Not a judgement. Just a fact. Let’s now look at transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is suzanne-d-williams-vmkbfr6r_jg-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

Transformation

Now, transformation implies a complete change to the object, thing, or person. Yep, that’s right. How then does transformation differ from development?

While development requires an active openness, as we’ve discussed, transformation requires openness and a complete and total letting go of what was, in favor of what will be. It requires a shift from a focus on the external to the internal.

Transformation is about questioning all you know. Every ounce of what you know, or beleive you know, must be questioned.

Further, you must be willing to let go of how you previously viewed the world. Open to a continual process of creating new information, new ways of understanding, and new ways of being.

The distinction is that with transformation you actively seek out opportunities to question the ways you think, act, and occur. Internally focused.

You are continuously interested in disrupting your old habits and ways of thinking while creating new habits and ways of thinking.

Let me give you an example to help with the distinction.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is disruptivo-i0ypwvhnzni-unsplash.jpg
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

Let us say you want to develop leadership skills. You can develop leadership skills in lots of ways. You can take classes, read books, even put leadership principles into practice in your life. That is development.

You incorporate new information into the preexisting way you already think about leadership. Simple. How then to create transformation? Mm. Different.

You must be willing to let go of all of your preconceived ideas about what leaders are supposed to do, how they are supposed to act, and how they are supposed to be. All of them. Then what?

You leave your ego at the door.

And, everything you think you know about leadership. Start over. Really. Let it all go. And, create from there.

Transformation can only occur when we let go. Know also that the letting go will need to happen again, and again, and again. Over and over. Why? Because you are disrupting what you held to be true, and creating something new. Key. You are not adding, you are creating.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arnaud-weyts-4hbszgi3z0c-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Arnaud Weyts on Unsplash

Example

Let’s see. Okay. Here we go.

When the pandemic began here locally, we were approaching the last week of the term at the community college where I work. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I work in community and continuing education. It is all experiential. All of it. Which means that it is in-person. All of it is, or was.

Within one month of the pandemic beginning here, we let go of all the concepts we held to be true about our business model. All of them. What happened?

We created an entirely new business model. A model that is transformational, as all aspects of it are completely different than the previous model. All of them.

We created all new processes and systems for how we do business. New ways we market and engage with the local community, new ways that instructors teach their classes, even the content that is delivered, while similar, is still completely new. Why?

Because a completely new context has been created. And it was created intentionally by believing something else was possible. Which then replaced our current belief system of how we all viewed our work.

All of us. now our actions follow that new belief system. That is transformation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-theodore-hbkwmj41y0i-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

When you intentionally create new ways to be, new ways to think, new ways to believe, new ways to be a human, you are creating contexts that are transformational. Never seen or experienced before. Transformation.

How are development and transformation similar?

One key way. When you develop, whether you want to or not, you give out your development to others. If those around you are open, they will learn from you and also develop. And, it is the exact same for you. If those around you are developing, and you are open you will also develop.

It is the same with transformation. If you are creating transformational contexts that change the nature of what’s possible, those around you, if they are open, will also transform. If they are open. If not, then they won’t. Same for development.

Can development lead to transformation?

Oh, yes, absolutely. In some ways, they sort of go together, which is why I wanted to write about the distinction. Whereas they are different, they both are about being open to and participating in creating change.

Here is a distinction on the difference between change and transformation.

“Change is about using external influences to modify actions to achieve desired results. Transformation is about modifying beliefs so that natural actions achieve the desired results.”

cioinsight.com

See the difference? One is externally driven, and one is internally driven. Very similar to the distinction between development and transformation. Important.

How do you begin to develop or transform?

Really it’s pretty simple, yet not easy. A paradox, yep. My suggestion?

  • Be open to everything around you. Being open is probably the key to both development and transformation. Both become possible when we are open to new information and new experiences.

When we are open, the world opens up. It really does. There is so much to learn and to experience. Being open creates an immediate possibility. The possibility that you will learn to be more. More of either how you already occur, or more by occurring in a completely new way in a completely new context.

#beliefsystems, #changeandtransformation, #covid-19, #creatingchange, #creatingnewcontexts, #creatingnewknoweldge, #creatingnewwaysofbeing, #creativity, #development, #developmentalgrowth, #distinction, #distinctionbetweentransformationanddevelopment, #ego, #growth, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #letting-go, #personaldevelopment, #selfdevelopment, #transformation

An Insight, An Inspiration, and A Quote: On Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG)

Oyez

A couple of weeks ago I watched the movie, On the Basis of Sex. The movie is about the early career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). There were several insights and inspirations that came from watching this movie, which I am sharing with you now.

Insight

There is a moment late in the movie where RBG has a choice. Choose to stand, embrace vulnerability, walk through it, and give the District Court Justices all she had. Wow. Was a pivotal point.

It reminds me that we all have choices. When we are confronted with difficulty, people telling us we can’t, we’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not insert here whatever you’ve been told. We have a choice.

We can allow these people to have power over us by accepting and holding onto the reality they are creating; or, we can create a different reality. One that gives us the space to love ourselves for exactly who we are. Right now, in this moment.

We must first accept ourselves, both our “weaknesses” and our “strengths.” Every aspect of who we are. Why? Because when we resist aspects of ourselves, they actually grow and become more present.

Choose love over fear.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Inspiration

RBG. Period. Did you know that when at Harvard Law School, her husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer. What did RBG do? Hm. Only attend both of their classes, and assist her husband with his school work, while, yep, also completing all of her work. Impressive and inspirational.

RBG was also told repeatedly by many different people that her driving force to create gender equity was not possible. RBG was given every reason in the world to quit. Give up. And? Mm. Persistence.

RBG is responsible for massive change in the nature of gender equity in this country. Insightful and inspirational.

Quotes

I had a hard time choosing my favorite RBG quote, so am including all of the ones I found.

  • “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”
  • “So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”
  • “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”
  • “When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out.”
  • “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
  • “You can’t have it all, all at once.”
  • “I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others.”
  • “In the course of a marriage, one accommodates the other”
  • “In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.”
  • “A gender line…helps to keep women not on a pedestal, but in a cage.”
  • “If you want to be a true professional, do something outside yourself.”
  • “Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true.”
  • “Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just zap energy and waste time.”
  • “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”
  • “If you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it. I had a life partner who thought my work was as important as his, and I think that made all the difference for me.”
  • “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”
  • “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

More Reading

Short article on Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg landmark court cases

Quotes retrieved from inc.com

#chooseloveoverfear, #creatingchange, #dedication, #effectingchange, #genderequality, #genderequity, #grit, #insightful, #inspirational, #motivation, #presistence, #rbg, #rbgquotes, #ruthbaderginsburgquotes, #supremecourt, #supremecourtjusticerbg

Leadership in Practice Series Part 1: Getting into Action, Keeping Relationships Strong, and Iterating Your Business Model to Stay Relevant During COVID-19

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Photo by Ambitious Creative Co. – Rick Barrett on Unsplash

I’ve written about leadership on this site a few times, so I’m doing something new over the next few days. I’ll be posting some articles I’ve written on leadership. New content on this site, and a conversation that is relevant and important right now. Enjoy. 🙂

Leadership in Practice Series Part 1

What do leaders do when everything they’ve prepared themselves and their teams for is suddenly, within hours, less relevant than ever before? Less relevant as a massive health pandemic, COVID-19, crosses the Atlantic Ocean and shows up in the United States. Not sure? Though I’ve lived it for these past three months, I’m not sure either. So, let’s take a look at what happened, and some of what I’ve learned these past three months.

COVID-19 Takes Root Locally

In early March I received an ominous email from by boss, which read something like this: if the College suddenly needs to close with little to no notice, what is your plan to continue service? Wait, what? At the time, I was admittedly ignorant about the scope of the COVID-19 health crisis in the United States, and the speed at which the virus was making its way towards the West Coast. What to do?

Well, I acted as I would have under any other circumstance. I sent the team the query, gave them a due date for feedback, which was extremely short, and gathered the information. I then rolled the information up into a document to share with my boss. We did this all within 48 hours.

I’ll be the first to admit that the plan was extremely basic, as our business model is one that requires, at least I thought so then, an in-person experience. Within two weeks of creating that plan, we found out that the College was going completely online to finish the Winter Term. Because, at the time, we did not have online or remote classes or training, we cancelled the last week of Winter Term to ensure the safety of our students and clients.

Get this. You are in your third term of the academic year, you just cancelled the last week of the term, and you are actively registering for spring, which is typically the strongest term of the year. And, your sales volume is up about 30% over the previous year. Now what do you do?

Get Into Action and Start Creating

In the next two weeks, it became very clear that the College would also be completely online and remote for Spring Term. What did we do? We started creating.

Here are some of the things we did.

  • We emailed all 200 instructors and asked if they would teach their in-person class remotely – note, at the time we had no systems or processes in place to offer these classes.
  • We moved all of our Professional Development on-campus training to Fall Term.
  • We communicated with all of our instructors, clients, partners, and students, letting them know about the College’s direction. We also inquired with other Colleges as to their plans, which was a very helpful decision. It gave us sight that other Colleges were also going remote, if they had the capability and financing.
  • We created an operations plan out of thin air. Here are a few examples of that plan.
    • Daily remote operations check-in’s.
    • Remote one-with-one’s as needed.
    • Twice-a-week remote registration staff meetings.
    • Weekly remote all-staff department meetings.
    • Bi-weekly program meetings.
    • Each staff member identified their top three remote work priorities.
  • We created many new processes, which included new ways to:
    • Register students and clients
    • Interact with all of our instructors, and clients
    • Track student enrollment
    • Process payment
    • Engage and market our products and services to the community

The point is, we did not sit back and wait for someone to explain the “how to” of the COVID-19 health crisis. There is no such thing. There never was, and never will be. You create on the fly, you do the best you can, and you serve.

You create possibilities where none ever existed before. You listen to your team, and to every idea they have. And, you take action on the best ones – the ones with the most impact.

You also continue to foster, and grow the team, which ensures you are continuing to grow the relationships with your instructors, students, and clients – those relationships are everything.

Keeping Relationships Strong

I’ve always said that relationships are everything. Really, they are. Nothing happens without high-quality relationships. Nothing. Everything is predicated on the strength of the relationships you have with those around you. However, working and living inside of the COVID-19 health crisis has taken my thinking and belief that relationships are everything to another level entirely.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the things we did to ensure that our relationships stayed strong during this most uncertain time.

  • Continue Creating Safety
    • Your team must feel safe to pursue the unknown with you. I believe this is true all the time, yet when your entire business model gets thrown out the window by a pandemic, and everyone is also concerned about their own physical safety, it is even more true. Having and continuing to create safety for your team is of utmost importance.
  • Create Even More Consistency and Structure
    • Another thing that was/is important, is the ability to create structure and consistency. When you are living in a highly unstable time, where change happens sometimes on a daily basis (hourly even), creating a consistent operations communication plan is critical. People must be able to depend on regularity, especially with so much uncertainty.
  • Create New Ways to Engage With Your Clients and Students
    • When we learned that the print schedule, which lists all of our experiential classes, was irrelevant, as all the in-person classes advertised were now in the process of being converted to remote classes, or were being cancelled, we pivoted and created a new digital schedule format. We then created processes to ensure we were collecting information needed, to digitally communicate with our students.

Now, let’s take a look at a couple of things you can do when your current business model, which was functioning well, is no longer relevant.

Recreating and Iterating Your Business Model

As was aforementioned, when COVID-19 began locally, our business model was functioning well, yet would become irrelevant if we did not act quickly. Here are a couple of the things we did to stay relevant.

  • Let Go of What Worked in the Past
    • One of the things we recognized very early on, was that we would have to create several entirely new business models – and, that work continues today. It can be hard to let go of a business model that is profitable. You must, however, when you are faced with a situation where that business model is no longer relevant or sustainable. If you don’t, your competition will pass right by you, and you will be out of business.
  • Create New Business Models that Fit the Current Reality
    • When we began to pivot our business models, we created on the fly, and, as was aforementioned, got all of our instructors into the conversation very early. Having strong relationships with our more than 200 instructors created the possibility that we could begin to deliver remote classes, something we had never done before.
  • Continue to Iterate the Business Models as Needed
    • We continued to iterate the business models as needed, and have continued to add new components, and take out others, as we’ve learned what has worked best. As humans, we have a desire to want to implement something that will be effective, and then stand back and watch it work. However, it’s not always that simple. Often it is not, in fact. Especially during such an uncertain time. So, when something is not working, get rid of it, and try something new. We’ve done that, are doing it now, and will continue to do it as often as needed.

All of the aforementioned sounds simple, and it was not. There was also a ton of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety that went with the plans and actions we’ve created and taken these past three months. Within myself, and within the team. However, we did not let that fear and anxiety stop the work that needed to get done.

Additionally, we have wonderful instructors. They are the main reason why we were able to offer 43 remote classes in Community Education spring term, and 73 for summer. The College was also extremely supportive, allowing us the space we needed to innovate.

The lessons I’ve learned in leadership these past three months are just now starting to surface. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn more about myself, and our team these past three months. I knew they were a resilient bunch, yet their level of resilience surpassed even my expectations.

Now as businesses start to reopen, we are continuing to consider what our next steps will be. No one can ever know the future, and, sometimes, as the COVID-19 health crisis proved, the best laid plans can go asunder. However, if you are up to the task, you can thrive in an environment that is completely unknown to you. You take one step at a time. You continue to foster your relationships, be who you are, and create anew over and over again; and, you watch and learn from all of the wonderful people around you.

Questions for you

  • What have you done to stay in action in your business (or life) during the past 6 months?
  • How have you kept relationships strong through all of the recent changes?
  • How have you iterated your business (or life) model to stay relevant and grow during COVID-19?

Look forward to hearing your stories!

Originally posted on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#buildingreslience, #covid-19andleadership, #creatingchange, #iteratingyourbusinessmodel, #keepingrelationshipsstrong, #leadership, #leadershipcahange, #leadershippractice, #relationships, #servantleadership

A Favorite Quote and Reminder

Smithsonian Magazine

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman

Goalcast

Dream. Create. Lead.

#changingtheworld, #creatingchange, #dreamer, #dreams, #harriet-tubman, #leadership, #leadershipvalues, #passion, #quote, #strength

The 4 Catalysts: Book 1, Part 2, Chapter 1

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

Brave – ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.

Strength – the quality or state of being physically strong.

Intellect – the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters

Part 2

1

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” -Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

GoodReads

Though the four had lived in a world full of change, they did not feel it, nor did they think much about it. Their lives had been, up to this point, rather monotonous.

Not like the days when their ancestors lived in the four corners. Those days were full of change even the catalysts felt. For a catalyst to actually feel change, it must be on a global scale.

What the four didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that the seeds of change, they, were about to embark on a journey for the ages. One that would have even concerned their ancestors.

The West

Unlike the East, the West was hot. Very hot, and dry, not wet and humid like the East. No, the West was a dry, arid, desert landscape, with rolling sand dunes, and distant mountains, which surrounded the Valley of the Sun.

Photo by Tanya Nevidoma on Unsplash

It was in this Valley that Lorel, and the People of the Sun lived; and, where the Castle of Sand was located. Like Sheldon, Lorel was the Mage of the East, and as such, fulfilled their obligation to the People of the Sun.

Unlike Sheldon, Lorel preferred to live alone. No Quara running after, nor house servants picking up after them. Just Lorel. Well, Lorel, and Hok, Lorel’s falcon, who, like Lorel, had lived in the Castle of Sand for generations. In fact, Hok’s ancestors had served Lorel’s ancestors for as long as anyone could remember.

Lorel was in their study at the top of the Castle, when Hok flew in and perched themselves just over Lorel’s shoulder.

“What’s the matter, Hok?”

It was just then that Lorel sensed it, them. Lorel quickly made their way to the window overlooking the vast dunes to the East. Sure enough, five riders were making their way to the Castle.

Surrounding the Castle were hamlets, many of them. The hamlets were where the People of the Sun lived. Lived, and thrived. Even though the People of the Sun didn’t take care of Lorel and the Castle proper, they took care of all of the surrounding landscape and hamlets.

Photo by fereydoun kia fereydoun kia on Un

And, though no one took care of Lorel and the Castle, there was one in particular, one tribesperson that looked in on Lorel regularly. Talom was their name, and their dedication to Lorel was complete.

Talom was a senior advisor among the People of the Sun, and was known for their great intellectual prowess. Even Lorel considered Talom one of the smartest people they had ever met.

As the riders approached the hamlets, Talom readied themselves for conversation.

The first rider was young. Younger than Talom expected. The rider gave off waves of arrogance, not surprising Talom in the least. The other four riders stayed back, while the youngster dismounted, and approached Talom on foot.

The hamlet’s inhabitants spilled out into the narrow streets that connected the small homes constructed of sand, sticks, and brush. Children and teenagers raced up to stand behind Talom, while their parents yelled at them to stay back.

The young man approached, and said “Who are you, old man? We’re seeking Lorel, Mage of the East. We’re not interested in talking to the likes of you. Simply point the way, and we’ll pass in peace.”

Talom snickered inwardly. The arrogance of such a boy to suppose he could simply ride up to the Castle of Sand, and speak with Lorel. Funny. Absurd. Talom gathered himself, breathing slowly, patiently, and just as the boy was about to speak…

“Who am I? Why, who are you, young master? We are the People of the Sun. This is our hamlet, which lies in the shade of the Castle of Sand.”

The young horse rider paused, grinned, then stepped back, looked over his shoulder, and said, “Seems like we have an issue here. This old one will not let us pass. What should we do boys?”

While the young horse rider was speaking to his fellow riders, Talom could sense something. Yes, it was Lorel communicating with them through the fire pit just to Talom’s right. Fire was the Mage’s Art, and they could do just about anything with it, including using it to communicate.

“Talom, what’s going on? Why is this boy here with four other men, and those infernal horses? What do they want?”

Talom still breathing slowly and patiently, answered back, “Master, I don’t like these horse riders, there’s something wrong with them. Not sure what it is, but something is amiss.”

Just then the boy advanced toward Talom at an amazing speed, drawing a throwing knife as he did so, and as he was about to throw, a curtain of fire erupted between the rider and Talom. The horse rider almost ran right into it, yet stopped just in time.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

The boy stumbled back, tripped, and tumbled to the desert floor. Now scrambling back towards his horse and the other rides. And, doing so quickly.

As the boy was retreating, Lorel came walking down the narrow hamlet streets towards the wall of fire. As Lorel passed the gathered children, they brushed their heads and shook hands of parents and caretakers, young and old alike.

Lorel then made their way toward Talom, standing right beside them. In that same instance, Lorel withdrew the wall of fire. Hok was sitting just over Lorel’s left shoulder, on the top of one of the hamlets, taking in their Master’s poise under pressure.

“What do you want? You don’t belong here, and are not sanctioned to be away from the Center. The Center is where you live, and where you are to stay. The far reaches of the West is no place for you. Now go.”

The boy stood up, brushed himself off, and called to one of the other men to bring him the pack.

Pack, what pack, Talom thought. Talom didn’t like this at all.

One of the older men brought the pack over, handed it to the boy, then made his way back to his horse.

The boy said, “We were tasked with delivering this to you. It was not an easy journey. Several died. We are what remains of the dispatch. This is for you.”

Lorel took the pack, opened it, and upon seeing the contents, stumbled backwards, almost falling over.

What in the world was the East Mage’s Book of Change doing with these men, and that infernal boy? What was it doing in the West, about as far away as you could get from the distant East? And, oh no, what about Sheldon?

“Oh, Talom, we have an issue.”

#book, #change, #creatingchange, #fantasy, #fiction, #fictionbook, #fictionfantasy, #fictionscifi, #fictionscififantasy, #fictionwriting, #mage, #scifi, #scififantasy, #the4catalysts, #the4mages, #writing