The Bevill Edge

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Success: Put It In Your Face

So you've chosen to put you first. Congrats! You may begin to see the power in your thinking when you are at cause in your own events.  A strong intention emerges and you turn to celebrate it with your friends and family, but no one knows what you're talking about. Falling into traps and emotional circles is difficult when you are the only one exploring new ideas. In this space, we find ourselves responding to other people and blaming them for their impact on our process. Not helpful. We also spend a great deal of time responding and not thinking about the bigger picture.

Consider this:
"There are so many confusing 'default' behaviors that are contributory to the outcomes of our lives that managing them is near impossible." - Me

If this is true, what can we do? First and foremost, the key word above is default. Default for me habit based, second nature, or insert word of choice hereThe point here is that it IS a choice, and being the choice over and over for so long that it is hard to catch before it gets out. This is an opportunity for an awareness event.

Changing Default Behavior Starts @ AWARENESS

An awareness event is an intentional behavior or communication that is specific to me that stops my default process in it's tracks.  I say "Put It In My Face." How do you tailor something to you, for you, and by you?

Identifying unconscious behavior and using it to your advantage. We all have unconscious responses and they aren't wrong or bad. We can use them!

Some are hand gestures, other are facial expressions, and sometimes it's just a direction we look when something goes wrong. To best understand ourselves, we can get feedback from those closest to us (the experts). "You may be thinking that is also a difficult thing for me to do." I would challenge that it's difficult because they know what you don't; and you know it. After all that IS the information we want and resistance is the sign that something is shifting. 

Resistance Can Be as Simple as Friction.

Poker players call this a 'tell'. You can discover these things about yourself in a playful environment from the people who know you best. Ask a family member or close friend about your behaviors. Actively give them permission to point it out and set boundaries to avoid hurt. You may also find hidden breakthroughs while discovering yourself.  As coaches and mentors, we specifically use personal breakthroughs to solve problems everyday. This is one opportunity for you to begin addressing them for yourself.

  • Get a friend to give you feedback in a safe environment
  • Give Permission
  • Set Boundaries
  • Look for Hidden Breakthroughs and emergent patterns
Here's a personal example from my own experience. 
I know that when I'm frustrated, I tend to pick up my iPad or my drawing notebook and I escape. While I could argue I get a lot of personal work done in that space, I probably didn't address the actual problem I walked away from and the result was always compounded issues/problems.

I also knew that a mental picture I had drawn was the trigger I needed when I was ineffective or feeling 'off' about some situation. This (picture) for me is a picture of thinking, a mental process of questions I ask. By changing my iPad lock screen to this image and printing  copy to keep as a bookmark in my drawing pads, I reduced my aversion on purpose. And here's the magic; Eventually the thought of picking up my iPad to escape triggers the mental image immediately and I can choose to confront the current problem.

I Reduced My Aversion 'On Purpose'

In about two months, I re-conditioned my default response. Since that day this mental model I prefer to work from as a person is second nature. I have, in fact, changed this default response and fundamentally changed what it means to be 'ME'. Wasn't that the point in the first place? So I'll say it again, "So you've chosen to put you first? Congrats!"

The more we are successful, the better we get at being successful. On this path I'm certain that my fast thinking default response will emerge to be the one of choice and THAT'S A WIN.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leaders Value Intention

What does "valuing intention" look like? How do I behave different and what results are in it for me?

In my past, I was taught to evaluate a person as a management skill. Information based on a set of criteria and providing a number. First it was a condition of employment and minimum requirement for the employee to achieve 'high marks'. As I evolved new patterns emerged and new tools emerged. Some tools intended to accelerate this process of evaluation and others taught us to put the burden onto the employee's peers by having them submit opinions about their co-workers. And yet, I didn't meet my goals as a result.

Something need to be done.

Later I was taught to help people align to their "deficiencies" for the sake of growth and overcoming them. This publication and evaluation got described as professional development, growth opportunity, or even mandatory corrective action. Still teams failed more than half of their projects and while they spoke of their respect for the company, I suspect it wasn't true.  Eventually I heard enough and I began seeking all of the opinions on the subject of being a better manager. I learned more and more tools to more efficiently and quickly judge someone else, but I still didn't see results in the work products of the teams. Improving the results of teams was the purpose behind evaluating our teams in the first place. 

...I learned that I am the cause or 'at cause'...

It wasn't until I began studying leadership, years later, did I realize it was more about the values of leaders and the values of managers that made them different in my mind and not just their definitions. Here are just a few of each, but I think you'll see the patterns:

Manger's values I've observed:
  • Results
  • Time
  • Budgets
  • Who
  • When
  • Where
  • Control

Leader's values I've observed
  • Thinking - Intention
  • People 
  • Behavior
  • Environment
  • Flow
  • Service
Measuring goals is a behavior. As with all behaviors, it is indicative of the value system behind it. I learned that every time I valued working with someone, it wasn't because they achieved their goals, but because they met their intentions in pursuit of goals. The results associated with these types of people are always exceeding expectations set by others. At this point, I acknowledged that measuring the teams against other's expectations was not actually valuable to me or my company's goals. And this was based on my own results.

"As an Integrated Manager I am most effective when I'm positively contributing to clear intentions."

So what's an immediate behavioral change? It is celebrating shorter cycles and working with your teams in their stated intentions. In doing so, you become more aware of their context and work.  In that space, you can now respond very quickly to the environmental impediments that contribute to any problem.

...celebrate intentions in shorter cycles and remain aware of the changing goals...

In wanting to change your mind-set from default management thinking to leadership thinking, you get to start today with this one behavioral change as your contribution to growth.

Ultimate outcomes are the result of behaviors, relationships, and communications over a period of time and cannot be changed simply by desire alone. Start now, as Ron Jeffries, says, Start before you're ready...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Is this my choice to make?

From Jessica Soroky

I'm starting to notice a pattern in myself, I process every problem differently.

In some cases I sprint through the mental states of the Responsibility Process, even skipping one or two, and getting to responsibility fairly quickly.

But recently, I encountered a problem that had me so stuck that I turned to the Leadership Gift Mastery community for help. I decided to ask Christopher if I could bring up my problem on the next Q and A call.

Here on this call – surrounded by professionals who were all in different places on their journey to mastering personal responsibility, some I knew very well and others I had never met before -- I felt safe to share my problem: my friend tried to take her own life. 

I received a call recently from the ex-boyfriend of one of my closest friends. He was hysterical, I could barely understand what he was saying. I caught every few words: “Whole bottle….911….pills…not waking up…help.”

There was no denial -- hearing him talk like that, my brain instantly accepted that this was true.

On the way to the hospital I called my mentor and Leadership Gift Coach, Scotty. I was stuck and didn’t know what to do.

He started asking questions and helped me realize I was justifying my friend's behavior, I felt my body get hot, I got mad, yelled at him, and rushed off the call. 

I lived with this for over a week before confronting it on a Q and A call where I realized I was mad because I wanted him to solve my problem for me, I wanted him to tell me what to do next, how to best respond. He wouldn’t, and I am grateful now that he didn’t.

I sat in the hospital with her family and a few friends, all of us waiting to hear from the doctor how she was. I felt so much fear of losing my friend, I couldn’t move. I sat there just listened to the conversations around me. My brain started to connect the words to what mental states they were each in.

“I can’t believe she would do this.” = Denial

“How could she do this to us?” = Blame

“I knew she was sad, she has been through so much lately, but I never thought this would happen” = Justify and then Denial

After a few hours ,we were updated that her stomach had been pumped and she was now sleeping. They were admitting her under a 72-hour psychiatric hold.

The next day we all sat in the hospital again, trying to understand why this happened. The entire time I was there she would only say one thing, “I’m sorry I wasn’t successful.”

I found myself not knowing how to interact with her any more, what to say or what to do. I was stuck.

I asked the group on the call how do handle a situation like this, how to stay out of coping and help get to responsibility so this situation would never happen again.

Christopher asked me something that hit me very deeply: he asked me to accept that I can not be able to prevent this problem from happening again. The choice for my friend to attempt suicide was not mine.

I was stuck because I was trying to take control of the situation and masking it as trying to get to responsibility.

I had to accept that this is not my choice to make – it's only hers.

This was a hard thing for me to swallow. I'm not only a control freak but I tend to take ownership of problems around me even when they aren’t my problems to solve.

Christopher continued to talk about how to be accepting and allowing that suicide is simply something my friends are capable of. “The wider your allowance is, the harder it will be for something or someone to break your reality.”

I fell silent on the call and in my head I said very slowly, “My friend attempting to take her own life is real, it is possible that it will happen again, it is not my choice to make and I love her.” I repeated this over and over again as I continued to listen to Christopher and Scotty on the call.

But, I still felt uneasy and a little stuck when Christopher said one sentence that helped me to let go of the feeling that I needed to “fix her”.

He said, “The most powerful thing you can do for your friend is to love her.”

In the days since the call, whenever I approach this situation either in person or just mentally I repeat that same sentence in my head to keep from falling back into the control cycle.

“My friend attempting to take her own life is real, it is possible that it will happen again, it is not my choice to make and I love her.”

Until I get to this mindset I am aware I am not helping my friend.

How wide is your allowance for all possible outcomes at work or in your personal life?