Trevolutionary Leadership Blog


High Energy WorkGroups

Published on: May 13, 2013 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development, Trevolutoinary Leadership, WorkGroup Leadership

I rode with a friend on a trip from Dallas to Austin, Texas in a purple four-wheel drive truck. We were a little over half way home and he turned to me, telling me he hadPurple failed to look at the gas gauge when we departed.

About the same time he was speaking those words, the truck began to jerk and lunge. It was more than apparent we were running out of gas.

Looking ahead there was an exit we thought we could make with our current rate of speed. All we had to do was make it to the top of the hill we were on so we could gain momentum on the other side.

The truck motor stopped running in one last lurch, but we kept rolling ahead. Fortunately we had enough momentum to get over the hill and take the exit, but coming off the freeway I observed the traffic light between us and the gas station was red.

We could not afford to stop, so my friend looked to the other side of the highway. Seeing a station there, he quickly steered for the u-turn under the freeway, avoiding braking and maintaining momentum. I am most certain we were on two wheels for at least part of that turn.

Our next problem appeared as we came out of the u-turn. The driveway to the station was behind the building and gas pumps, requiring the purple four wheel truck to make another, even tighter u-turn.

My friend looked at me as the momentum that brought us the last three quarters of a mile faded and said, “I am going to have to have some help on this one.” I reached across the seat, grabbed the steering wheel with him, and pulled with all my might. I know we were on two wheels on that turn! We came out of the turn rolled up to the gas pump in a perfect stop.

It is important to make sure that what you are relying on to get you somewhere has the energy to do so.

This is true in the relationship a leader has with his or her workgroup. The amount of productivity in a workgroup is directly related to the energy it expends in work. Many leaders fail to enjoy the full energy potential in their workgroups, costing productivity.

We have all been in high energy groups and low energy groups. High energy groups have similar characteristics. They are:

  • Active
  • Forceful
  • Adapting
  • Effective

 Alternatively, low energy groups tend to have recognizable characteristics as well. They are: 

  • Passive
  • Reactive
  • Unresponsive
  • Ineffective

Low energy workgroups may not have the energy to get the job done nor the capacity to regain energy once it is spent. Perhaps the group just performs in a low energy state. I have met some leaders who accept this as the reality of their leadership; a low energy workgroup that hopefully has enough vitality to get the work done.

Every workgroup have potential energy that can be applied to productivity. A workgroup’s energy grows out of its dynamic nature. High capacity leaders engage the energy available in the group to create a dynamic, productive workgroup. Every workgroup naturally possesses this energy.

My friend lost energy in the purple truck because he did not take the time to provide it with what it needed to perform. He barely got it to the place he could remedy that oversight without more work on his part (walking for gas!)

A leader releases natural group energy as he or she skillfully applies relevant knowledge to his or her workgroup. This is a learned skill. I am offering you an opportunity to obtain this skill in a half day learning event. The event is complimentary if you bring a colleague from another company or organization. Or you can pay the investment fee if you prefer to attend alone.

Our next Complimentary Leading WorkGroups Learning Event will be on Thursday, June, 27 2013 from 8 am – Noon. It will be held at the Austin Marriott North in Round Rock, Texas.

For more information or to register click here.

 

Self: The Greatest Leadership Challenge

Published on: Feb 28, 2013 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development, Trevolutinary Leadership, Self Leadership

Having grown up on a dairy farm, I had early experience with “stuckness.” I have stuck tractors and trucks of various sizes on many occasions. I even have friends from that time who still accuse me of getting them stuck. I do not believe their perspective on those past events is accurate, yet they persist.Stuck

 Being stuck was no fun because it usually entailed a long walk for help, additional resources like a bigger truck or tractor to pull us out, loss of time, and at times money. You did, however, know you were stuck and how to get out of the mud.

 While you may not have the kind of experience I had on the dairy farm with “stuckness,” everyone has been stuck in life. In life, stuckness is not always as easy to recognize, nor is clarity regarding what it takes to get moving again.

 Some indicators of being stuck in life may include: 

  • Lack of Direction – When a person lacks direction in life, decisions are more difficult. Without a clearly defined future, any path will do and any future must be acceptable. Living life in this manner involves risk. By the time you recognize you do not want to be where you are, it is too late to change it. 
  • Lack of Meaning – When activities and relationships have little or no meaning life becomes mundane and common. If what one does day to day does not matter, then what does? Research shows that having a sense of purpose in work and life is important to people. 
  • Stress and Weariness – Life takes a lot of work, but when one works at life in a manner that does not provide a fulfilling return on the investment it can be wearying.  Whether at work, as family, or as a volunteer, being drained by relationships and responsibilities is unhealthy.   

I did not like getting stuck on the farm, but I really don’t like being stuck in life. Beyond that, I do not like to see others stuck in life. My work on the Trevolutionary LeadershipTM System: Self Leadership allows me to equip people to keep moving in life.

 For instance in the course participants: 

  • Develop a personal vision statement, representing a future that is better than today, even when today is meaningful.
  • Discover a mission that clarifies who you are, why you exist, and the difference you will make if you achieve success.
  • Learn to live a balanced life, which includes making sure personal needs are met as you fulfill responsibilities and meet the needs of others. 

Those who have completed our Self Leadership Course describe it as transformational. People who completed it almost a decade ago still comment on how it continues to serve them. 

 As a result of interest expressed by many individuals, we will be offering the Trevolutionary Leadership System: Self Leadership Course this spring in the Austin, Texas area. If you would like information on how to participate, click here or call us.

An Uncommon Leadership Program

Published on: Feb 12, 2013 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development, Trevolutinary Leadership

 

Odd

I was speaking with a leader who described a member of her team as “different.” We had the discussion because the leader was not sure how to deal with that different person. When describing a person as different, we usually mean odd, unusual, peculiar, or atypical. Most people do not like being considered odd or different, even when the person knows he or she fits the description.

 Different can also mean uncommon with connotations of being rare or infrequent. In this sense, the person is someone who might cause you to say, “I have not met very many people like that.”

 In either case, it is typical to react to that which is odd or uncommon differently than that which is common or the same. One’s reaction is determined by how he or she experiences the uncommon.

 Encountering “different” that is difficult to deal with creates weariness and stress. Alternatively, interacting with that which is uncommonly better than what one has known can be transforming. 

 We know our approach to leadership development is “different.” We know our leadership programs are distinct. For those who encounter them, the feedback is that they are uncommon and transforming, even revolutionary. We have also learned that it is not possible to understand this distinction over a phone call or in a brief meeting.

 Over the past few months, we asked ourselves what it would take to be understood. As a result, I returned to the science that is the foundation for our leadership programs and organizational development processes. The result has been greater clarity, which I discussed in my previous blog.

 Beyond the clarity that resulted in a concise Trevolutionary LeadershipTM definition, we also recognize that to be transforming, a leadership program must be experienced. It takes time to understand leadership development that produces Revolutionary Leaders for Evolutionary Times.

 For that reason, we are offering a complimentary four-hour workshop for those who bring a colleague from another organization or company entitled The Three Foundational Skills of Trevolutionary LeadershipTM. You will be hearing more about this in the coming weeks, as well as have the opportunity to participate in the workshop.

Leadership is Tricky

Published on: Jan 21, 2013 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development, Team Leadership, Self Leadership, Productivity

Captain AMy four and a half year old grandson went out on the sailboat with his dad and me this weekend. There was no wind to speak of, so we motored around a bit with my grandson at the helm. I think you would agree he is a great helmsman if you had seen him. I am convinced he is a natural, and I am fairly certain this is not Skipper’s (that is what he calls me) bias. He was able to hold a heading, avoid running aground, and obey the warning buoys. He even let out a “Land ho!” a few times. A true sailor!

When he was ready to return to the marina, he pointed the boat in that direction. After a moment, he turned to me and said, “Skipper, this looks tricky, I think you had better do it.” Amazing perceptivity for a four and a half year old, I think. It is tricky to bring a boat into its slip in a marina. There are many factors that must be considered and he was aware that he needed more experience to be successful. Do you ever feel that way as a leader?

 I have been working with leaders for over a decade, developing resources that result in skill development. I have trained, coached, written, and consulted with many developing leaders, and I believe most of them recognized that leadership is tricky. It is so tricky that a few months ago, I was asked my definition of leadership and I replied I could not provide a succinct definition. I had definitions of self-leadership, team leadership, and organizational leadership, but not a general definition that encompassed all three. These three definitions are the basis of what I have called the Trimergent Leadership® System.

 Last year I began a review of the science behind our content and approach to leadership development. In that review, I was able to write a succinct definition of Trevolutionary LeadershipTM that people will be able to apply practically to self, workgroup, and organization. It brings clarity of practice to leaders. This effective leadership practice will revolutionize the way leaders lead, improving work performance. We are introducing our new leadership system, the Trevolutionary LeadershipTM System, this year. The new system builds on the previous one with greater clarity, a renewed focus on skill development, and a continued commitment to new science that supports new practices so leaders will no longer have to rely on the historical practices of scientific management.

 Leadership is tricky, but with competence developed over time and through practice, it can be mastered. We are committed to developing people who lead with concepts, knowledge, and skills that yield results personally, in workgroups, and in organizations. If you are finding leadership tricky, and would like more information on how we can revolutionize your leadership practices please contact me at clint@jclintanderson.com.

 

Do you want to lead?

Published on: Dec 20, 2012 | Tags: Leadership, Leadership Development

This blog is longer than usual because it is the first chapter of a book I have worked on called Leadership Lessons of a Novice Sailor.  One of the most enjoyable gifts I have been given was a sailboat. It has taught me as much about leading as it has about sailing.

Happy Holidays!

It was the last day of a seven night cruise with my wife, her sister and her husband. By this final day of the cruise, I had talked about everything one can talk to his brother-in-law about. Searching for additional topics to discuss, and to keep the conversation going, I remembered he had at one time owned a sailboat. So I asked him, “Didn’t you have a sailboat at one time?”

He responded, “Yea, do you want that thing?”Sailing

Well, I had never sailed a boat and really did not know anything about sailboats. But someone was offering to give me a sailboat, so I said, “Yes!”

A few weeks after our vacation, I went to get my new sailboat. When I arrived at his property, he took me to see my much anticipated new toy. He explained it had been parked in his barn for ten years. Frankly, the 1989 sixteen foot Hobie catamaran was not much to look at. The boat consisted of two small hulls that looked like a pair of dirty, peeled bananas with a trampoline between them, and no motor. It was sitting on a trailer with flat tires, but he had bags of sails, boxes of parts, and a manual. There were rudders, a tiller, shrouds, and a mast (that is the only thing I really recognized). I loaded everything he gave me into my pickup truck, aired up the trailer tires, hooked the trailer up, and headed home.

When I am in a new situation, such as being the owner of a sailboat I know nothing about, I usually make a trip to the bookstore and buy a book. So I bought a book on sailing catamarans to learn to be a sailor. Over the next several weeks I cleaned the boat, learned what the parts of the boat were and how they went together so I could rig the boat, and read about sailing. The cleaning, rigging, and reading culminated in our maiden voyage.

I enlisted my son-in-law, Steve, to participate in my first attempt to sail a boat on a Friday afternoon. We arrived at the boat ramp on a local lake and began to rig the boat (something a friend would later describe as recreational calculus).  This involved stepping the mast, locking the rudders in place, connecting the tiller, and loading the sails. As the next step in the process we launched the boat into the water—it floated! We boarded the boat and began to raise the main sails while inadvertently drifting away from shore with no motor. We provided plenty of entertainment for two inebriated fishermen on the shore who watched our failed attempt to raise the main sail, which became our primary accomplishment that afternoon. Fortunately, I had attached a paddle to one of the crossbeams, so we paddled the sailboat back to shore.

Obviously I had not read the book well enough, so I spent that evening reviewing the basics of catamaran sailing in order to make our second sailing attempt Saturday morning. On this second trip we went to the other side of the lake, where the wind would blow us toward shore in the event we failed once again to get the sail up. The boat ramps at this particular lake are designed to launch four boats at a time, and it was a very busy morning. A constant stream of fishing boats, ski boats, and jet skis launched in the hour we spent rigging the sailboat. With the mast standing, rudders locked in place, and sails lying on the trampoline waiting to be raised, we finally backed the trailer into the lake and launched the Hobie for our maiden voyage. Steve and I appreciated the assistance of the wind in keeping the boat close to shore in case we failed to raise the sail again, but just to be doubly safe he stood in the lake and held the boat while I raised the sails.

That Saturday morning I took one step closer to becoming a sailor. I raised the sails on a sailboat. After a brief celebration we determined to set sail. As a reminder, my knowledge of sailing consisted of what I had read in the catamaran sailing book, and Steve has still not read it. As captain, I instructed Steve to take the pole (I did not remember its proper name, the tiller) and I grabbed the ropes as we pushed the boat out, climbed on board and waited for the wind to move us. The boat floated out about fifty feet as we anticipated its interaction with the wind.

When the wind captured the boat it took a hard, ninety degree right turn (starboard tack in sailor talk) and began to pass in front of the boat ramp, picking up speed. About the time we moved beyond the power boats on the ramp, something changed. I am not sure what happened next, but I am fairly certain it involved operator error. We took another hard, ninety degree right turn and headed directly back to shore. As a result of the unintended, unanticipated turns Steve and I were tossed on our backs with our legs in the air while the sailboat raced back to shore. Under the amazed stares of everyone anywhere near that part of the lake the boat came to a stop, landing on some large rocks on the opposite side of the boat ramp from where we started. We laid there confused, dazed, and embarrassed with the boat lunging forward because of the wind that continued to fill its sails. I wondered if I would ever become a sailor.

Most people become leaders much like I became a sailor. I was given a boat. You were given a position. That position might carry various titles such as manager, supervisor, team lead, director, vice president, president and the list can go on, but at some level each title represents the responsibility to bring people together to achieve a desired result. The path to success in these roles is leadership. When you are offered such a position you are in effect being asked, “Do you want to lead?” You may have never thought much about becoming a leader, nor considered your potential in such a role. Or on the contrary, you may have pursued the opportunity, but either way someone offered you the position. What did you say? “Yes?”

When you become a leader you bring with you some ideas about leadership.  In preparation, perhaps you engage in some learning process such as reading, professional development, or academic pursuits. This is not a static process. The wisdom of learning about leadership is validated in the many dynamic challenges becoming a leader presents to a person. There are many leadership skills that can be learned and improved through training. But you cannot learn to lead by reading or training. I would have never become a sailor by reading books or even taking sailing classes.

The first leadership lesson I learned as a novice sailor: you learn to lead by leading. Knowing and applying the leadership capacities to people over time makes leaders. I learned to sail by sailing and my first attempt was very disappointing. Leadership bestows a science to learn, and an art to perfect, because every person, group, or organization you lead is unique. You will become a leader by leading people. When you say yes to the position, you say yes to becoming a leader. Although it is less tangible than a sailboat, you are taking possession of something new. Every time you say yes to a position involving bringing people together for a common cause, a new opportunity to lead presents itself.

With all of the opportunity that exists in a leadership role, the mistakes you will make represent, perhaps, the most painful reality of learning: to lead by practicing on people. Every leader I am aware of has ended up on the rocks a few times. You will make decisions that affect those you lead negatively as you learn to make judgments as a leader. You will take actions toward others that you will regret as you learn to lead them. You will have negative effects at times as a leader, even when you have the best of intentions. And you will make these mistakes with everyone watching. When you end up on your back, on the rocks, embarrassed, wondering how you got there, remember, you will learn from the experience. There will be days you ask, “Will I ever become a leader?”

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