We’d like to wish you all the best for 2018. Working with over 20 Fellows across the globe, our plan is to continue to raise the emotional health levels of people through the great work we all do together.
At the moment, we are hearing a lot of people saying ‘if only this person would change…’ or ‘if only that organisation would change …’ in response to what is happening externally.
What we appreciate is that real and sustainable change will only happen when we work within ourselves and create the change we want to see in others.
If we are peaceful and calm and know what is important to us we are likely to be less affected by an unreasonable person. If we show care and compassion, others will experience that and respond accordingly. If we want to change what happens in our organisation, it is important that it starts with us first – as we are part of the culture that created what ‘is’.
Offering the opportunity for individuals, teams, organisations and communities to maintain this focus is part of our 2018 resolution! Will you join us?
I’ve been reflecting a lot about the #MeToo campaign that has developed over the past few weeks on social media. In case you missed it, the campaign started after a tweet from American actress Alyssa Milano who asked any woman who has been sexually harassed or assaulted to change their ‘status’ to ‘Me too’.
That single tweet has now received over 50,000 ‘likes’ and almost 70,000 comments as thousands of women – and some men – have ‘put their hands up’ to report that they’ve been harassed or assaulted at some stage in their lives. Many thousands have shared their stories on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #MeToo*.
Seeing this sudden outpouring of declarations, and recalling an incident that I experienced myself many years ago, has caused me to think about what it is that prevents us from finding a voice at the time, and what it would take for more of us to do so.
I don’t claim to have the answers, but I think there is some benefit to be had in thinking about what these barriers are, because one thing is certain: while we feel unable to speak up, the situation we find ourselves in will continue.
As I reflected on this, I was conscious that there are many reasons for not speaking up.
Power imbalance is one that seems obvious. We know that people in power can create situations in which those ‘below’ them feel helpless to do anything in case they jeopardise their careers.
However sometimes the barriers to finding a voice are more subtle. There may be a fear that ‘if I speak up, I’ll be implicated too’, which, deep down, also points to a power imbalance. There can also be fear that speaking up will have a negative effect on others around you, or on your organisation.
Thinking of this from the perspective of the Enneagram, and the basic fears of each Enneagram type, we can point to a range of different rationales people may have to avoid speaking up:
If I speak up, I’ll be caught up in the middle of something I didn’t expect.
If I speak up, I will be judged for what I believe in or what I say.
If I speak up, others will think less of me.
If I speak up, it will be a career limiting move.
If I speak up, I’ll be too emotional and people won’t understand.
If I speak up, I might be seen to be incompetent.
If I speak up, who knows what could happen?
If I speak up, I’ll have to go through a whole lot of pain.
If I speak up, I might say things I will regret.
There are so many reasons for not speaking up that it’s not hard to understand why few of us do so.
What can we do to improve the situation? For me it is having the intent to ensure that my voice is used not just for myself but also for others (which is largely what the #MeToo campaign is effectively doing).
This month we welcome guest blogger in Mark Waller, one of our Community Fellows*. Mark is Station Maintenance Superintendent at AGL Loy Yang. He has 31 years’ heavy industrial experience, with interests including improving his leadership effectiveness via increased emotional health, mentoring people, reading and overseas travel adventures.
Each evening, after another unrelenting day’s work, my fiancée Janice and I ask each other, ‘Did you have a “PIP” or a “PIP-F” day?’ The former means Productive, Interesting, and Purposeful. The latter means Productive, Interesting, Purposeful and FUN.
Inevitably we conclude we both had a PIP day, but we generally have far too many tasks and conflicting priorities for many work days to be PIP-F. We recently realised it was only by exception that one of us said we had a PIP-F day.
Recognising this eventually led Janice and I to discussing possible options for gaining more PIP-F in our work days. We decided we didn’t want our work days and working lives to be nothing but frantic, resentful blurs. Aside from the personal impact, we knew that working this way was too often pulling us below the line.
Making concerted efforts to seek out splashes of fun each day would enable us to enjoy our working lives more and not be resentful toward our large workloads. This would inevitably be good for our emotional health and so have a positive impact on the people around us.
We started to try some ideas for finding more PIP-F in our work days, and knowing that many leaders in many professions are in exactly the same situation as ourselves, we decided to write these down. So here are some ideas we’ve been trying in order to find more PIP-F in our days.
Deliberately and consciously seek out and/or create humour and laughter, even if only for brief moments. It’s okay to a crack an occasional funny at the relevant time. It’s amazing how three or four opportunities have presented each day since we’ve been more focused on looking out for these moments.
Make conscious efforts not to treat our roles and KPIs as a matter of life and death. Take more holistic views to put it all into perspective. Will the things causing us stress today really matter next week, let alone several weeks or months from now?
Seek activities during the working day to increase our heart rates and get some fresh air, like a five to 10-minute walk outside or a brisk effort up a flight of stairs. In the language of Global Leadership Foundation, this is about improving balance by connecting with the ‘Body’ centre. It’s surprising how much better you feel when you sit down again.
Schedule daily reflection time to appreciate what we have achieved, even if unplanned, instead of what we didn’t accomplish.
Work harder on ourselves than on our jobs. Don’t convince ourselves that we’re too busy to attend that lunchtime yoga session or team building activity. Again, this is about maintaining balance.
Ask ourselves, ‘Do I really have to attend that meeting?’ When we can say no occasionally each week, the extra time freed up makes us feel slightly more in control and therefore happier.
We’re not saying any of these ideas are easy or even convenient. We’re only suggesting making a concerted effort to try some of them out, if you don’t already. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the positive difference this approach can make to your busy, daily work ritual and your emotional health.
* Community Fellows are people we recognise who are contributing to the Global Leadership Foundation purpose of raising the emotional health levels of other people across the globe. This is through leading by example in the work they do and in the conscious choices they make and mindful practices they undertake in their own lives.
Finally the importance of building and strengthening genuine and supportive relationships is being recognised as integral to effective leadership.
What is valuable in exploring this amazing quality is recognition that caring comes in a variety of forms. It is so much more than its simple physical expression of a warm handshake or welcoming smile.
Caring can be reflected through leaders who:
encourage you to step in and take charge of your own destiny
include you and appreciate your perspectives
remind you about what is important when the little things get in the way
know something is ‘not right’ and just show up to check in
highlight and promote your achievements so that others can learn from you
appreciate what is special and unique about you
bring more information and knowledge to make your decisions easier
look out for and support you when things aren’t going so well
make you smile and keep positive when the world around you doesn’t feel great.
Genuine caring leadership is not about ‘giving’ to get something in return. It is selfless; care is given respectfully and with compassion.
Caring leadership is a leader knowing intuitively what someone needs and meeting that need, rather than coming from their own perspective of ‘knowing what is best or right’.
It is about continually considering ways to make connections easier and appreciating the benefit this brings to the individual and the organisation.
In short, caring leadership is about seeing the people you lead as equal human beings who are worthy of your respect as much as you are worthy of theirs. It is about understanding that caring is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability but rather a sign of deep strength. It reflects high levels of emotional health and a deep understanding of your own impact on bringing out the best in others.
Caring leadership costs nothing, but the benefits have no limits.
How do you demonstrate your caring as a leader? What are your practices and preferences? What responses do you experience when you genuinely care?
We are privileged to work with many organisations that are changing their cultures to support their purpose and direction. It is rewarding to be part of the team supporting an organisation’s people to develop a picture of what they want, and then to build the behaviours, symbols and systems that will enable that picture to come to life. It is inspiring to experience the commitment of people as they strive together to ‘make it happen’.
Culture change will always bring out the best (and sometimes the ‘not so great’) aspects of people and teams. It can be exciting, challenging, frustrating, stimulating, risky, scary and fun all at the same time. Ambiguity waits on every corner. Just when we think we have everyone on board, someone is bound to ask, ‘But what about …?’
Ongoing monitoring of where the organisation is during a culture change initiative is important. It allows us to work out what might be ahead and to pre-empt some of the issues that could arise.
There is a great tool (adapted from the work of John Kotter) that supports us in doing this. I wanted to share it with you hope you will find it useful. We call it ‘See it, Own it, Do it’.
People ‘see’ the future state including the intended outcomes of the culture change. They believe that leaders in the organisation are committed to making it happen rather than simply paying lip service to change.
‘Case for Change’: It is important for the organisation to build a clear and relevant ‘Case for Change’ that everyone is able to buy into. When there is no case for change, the language people use in the organisation is ‘Don’t worry, it’s not urgent’.
Committed leadership: Leaders ‘show up’ ready to be involved in the change and to lead by example. Where there is no committed leadership, the language people use in the organisation is ‘Don’t worry, it’s not real’.
People understand what the change means for them and are aware of the plan of action, how they are involved and what is expected of them.
What’s in it for me? (WIIFM): Each person is easily able to explain what the culture change means for them personally. When there is no WIIFM, the language people use is, ‘It’s not worth it’.
Concrete plan: There is a high-level plan for how the culture change will be implemented. It includes broad time frames and indicators of how people will be involved. When there is no concrete plan, you will hear, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere’.
People are provided with ongoing development to work in and through the change. The organisation’s systems are aligned to support and reinforce new ‘ways of doing things around here’.
Development: Everyone is provided with appropriate development and training to enable them to feel confident and capable through the culture change. When such development is not provided, the language people use is ‘It’s not possible’, or in some cases, ‘It’s impossible’.
Alignment: The organisation’s systems are redeveloped or adapted to support what is expected in the desired culture. When the systems do not reflect the new ‘ways of doing things around here’, the language you will hear is, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not for long’.
This simple but powerful tool is a great way of starting to determine where an organisation can put its focus to ensure culture change is being supported and enacted. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information around this – we are more than pleased to share it.
February is B Corp Month. It’s an opportunity to better understand the movement of private companies that use their business as a ‘force for good’ – a feature of moving towards a new economy.
For those of you who are familiar with Global Leadership Foundation, it won’t come as a surprise to know that back in May 2003 using our business in this same way was an important driver for Malcolm and I as we co-founded our organisation.
We wanted to ensure that all leaders, regardless of their capacity to pay, had the opportunity to build and strengthen their emotional health – making a difference to both themselves, those around them, their organisations and communities and the planet.
Our combined business experience and the financial environment at that time suggested that setting up a ‘not for profit’ to achieve this would not only be an exercise in becoming experts in grant applications but would also limit the funding possibilities for the global plans we had.
We wanted to ensure we remained both profitable and sustainable, which raised questions like:
What would it take to set up a private company that put its profits into a philanthropic fund?
How could we structure an organisation with minimal overheads, thus meaning more money into the fund at the end of each financial year?
If we were going to let clients know that we were using some of what they paid us to support other leaders, how could we ensure transparency in transactions in and out of our business?
How could we use the talents we had to ensure that creating the best outcomes for clients, making a living and achieving our purpose of raising the emotional health levels of leaders across the globe was all possible?
These questions weren’t generally the ones being asked by business around us. In fact, we had several business leaders quizzically ask us how we imagined we were going to remain viable given all we wanted to achieve.
Almost 15 years later, the concept of a ‘social enterprise’ is as close as it comes to what we wanted to set up. That phrase didn’t exist when we were considering the possibilities for our business.
Thankfully, there were many like-minded people and organisations across the globe that were also thinking about building a fairer and more sustainable economy. In 2006, B Corp began synthesizing the best practices in socially responsible business at that time, along with creating an Impact Assessment Tool to measure what matters.
It was an amazing start to a movement that is now recognised globally with Patagonia, Natura, Danone Wave and Global Leadership Foundation amongst its over 2400 members across the world in 2017.
In recent years Global Leadership Foundation has continued to shift our focus globally with initiatives like Tables of Ten becoming a new way of engaging like-minded leaders who want to make an impact individually, collectively and across the world. Just when we are realising the benefits of the social enterprise in an Australian context, the challenges of a global one appear.
With a broadening of our focus, we are asking some of those original questions all over again. How do we now ensure that we remain profitable and sustainable as a private company while also ensuring that our profits across the globe can find a home in a common global philanthropic fund? What structure will allow us to continue to minimise overheads and maximise the money that goes into the fund while also working across a global canvas?
We can’t fully answer these questions yet (and are always open to ideas). However, we know that the increasing growth of B Corp means we are by no means alone in meeting these new challenges.
It is interesting to look back on the year that has been 2017 and reflect on the content of the blog posts we have shared over this time.
When I did just that, what was unexpected was the emergence of an underlying theme in all of them around making conscious choices to affect who you are and how you impact others.
If I had a magic wand that I could wave just once, it would be over the many ‘leaders’ we experience (both publicly and privately) who do not appear to be aware of their impact and the consequences of their behaviour on others.
Enabling these leaders to make conscious choices and implement mindful practices in order to create more meaningful interactions and respectful relationships would be my wish.
I do hold compassion for these leaders and the way they are currently ‘showing up’. I appreciate that the level of awareness they hold in relation to their impact on others is generally not high and that their basic fears and the resulting coping strategies they use drive their behaviour.
For example, when a leader (or anyone for that matter) perceives that their basic fear of being harmed or controlled by others, and thus becoming vulnerable, is about to be realised (whether that is true or not), their coping strategy is often to exert their will in order to remain strong and in charge of their life and that of others.
When a leader perceives that their basic fear of being worthless and having no value other than through what they achieve is about to be realised, they start getting things done in the most efficient and expedient way – such as taking credit for ideas that are not their own to gain the attention of others.
It would be so wonderful to have a magic wand available at a moment like this, to have these leaders truly understand the significance of the impact they have had, and what that has caused others to do as a result. With a simple wave, they would then make a conscious choice to do something differently, to find a different way of engaging and leading others.
Unfortunately I don’t have that wand, and nor does anyone else. So what can we do when we meet this level of leader? It is about us making a conscious choice to provide respectful feedback (often with great courage) on the impact of what we have experienced and what could be more effective.
It might feel that what we say will fall on deaf ears. It might feel like providing such feedback could be a career-limiting move. It might feel it isn’t worth it given the spiteful or malicious response we will likely get. However, the consequence of not speaking up needs to be weighed against the possible responses, for without feedback these leaders will continue to pursue their ‘least action pathways’ to cope with the situations they face.
I am always available for a cup of coffee (real or virtual) to support the conscious choice you make.
Social business is a new business paradigm. But when is business acting socially? Are the moral obligations of business changing? Does it mean beefing up existing corporate responsibility departments, or is it something entirely new?
This is the topic that Gayle and three other speakers were invited to explore at the Australian Business in Europe event in Paris last week. The other presenters were: Claudia Schulz, PhD candidate at HEC; Neil Barrett, Group Senior Vice President of Sustainable Development at Sodexo; and Armelle Weisman, Partner at Deloitte Development Durable
Moderated by Kelly Saunders, Senior Lawyer at Keolis and ABIE board member, the panel was asked to share our insights into a number of facets of this topic, including:
defining social business and exploring how possible it is to be such a business
understanding the place of profit in organisations and how it can be used for the greater good
determining whether for-profit businesses and multinationals can genuinely partner with the community, not-for-profits and government for the benefit of all
the role that senior leaders have in leading (or not) by example in moving towards this way of operating
the role of business schools and academics in challenging and evaluating the impact of social business, and
what is needed to support organisations and businesses that want to embrace this whole approach.
Given Global Leadership Foundation was created, and has operated, as a ‘social business’ since 2003, it was heartening to be in a place where there was genuine interest, dialogue and action around the topic.
In case you missed the most recent issue of our monthly newsletter, Global Connections, on email, you can read it here.
In this edition, we share our experiences of the IEA Enneagram Europe Conference in Finland and the B Corp Champions Retreat in Toronto. We also offer you the opportunity to join us for our 2018 ‘On The Balcony at Byron’, the Enneagram Immersion Experience in February 2018, A ‘Taste of Tables of Ten’ in Sydney on November 8th 2017 and, finally, our end-of-year Fellowship event for 2017.
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We are pleased and honoured to let you know that we have once again been included on B Lab‘s annual ‘Best for the World’ list, recognising our contribution towards “a world in which all people enjoy high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose; safe and neighborly communities that enrich our families; and a healthy environment for us and our grandchildren’s grandchildren”. You can see the full list of honorees here.
As the team at B Lab put it, organisations on this list represent “a global movement of people using the power of business to achieve a higher purpose than profit maximization. They strive to use business as a force for good: good for workers, good for communities, good for the environment. They redefine success in business by competing to be not just best in the world, but best for the world. … Leaders of this global community are honored on B Lab’s annual Best for the World lists.”
We do want to point out that while we are included in the category ‘Management Consultant – for-profit’, Global Leadership Foundation is there for every business, contributing through our pro-bono and low-bono work in the not-for-profit, government and community sectors as well.