You Cant Stop Rotting Wood

YOU CAN’T STOP ROTTING WOOD

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Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash

YOU CAN’T STOP ROTTING WOOD

By Craig Johns

Have you ever felt like the company you are working for is like a ship that has sprung a leak, taking on water and gradually going under?

At first you put a wrong decision, behavior or action down to a mistake or an interesting choice, but after it is replicated many times, it feels like you are on a runaway train with no brakes.

Once a negative culture or behavior becomes ingrained it is like wood in that when rot sets in there is no way to stop its progress.

I have found that a dysfunctional company or team culture starts from the leader or leaders of an organization lacking the necessary skillsets to one, set a positive culture, and two, have the ability to manage the direction of the culture created.

The demise of many teams and companies can be directly related to the environment created by a leader, leadership team or a group of people who are able to use their influencing abilities in a negative manner.

As is often noted in business circles, ‘the fish rots from the head down’, meaning that the when a team or company fails, it is the leadership that is the root cause.

Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.

BRIAN CHESKY, co-founder and CEO, Airbnb

Deloitte completed a Global Human Capital Trends survey in 2016, which found that 82 percent of respondents believe that culture is a potential competitive advantage as it drives people’s behavior, innovation and customer service. (Kaplan et al. 2016)

Ashworth (2015) noted that, “a company’s culture is the only truly unique identifier. It is like a fingerprint. It may be similar to others, but is uniquely distinct to your business”.

Iannarino (2012) pointed out that, “if leadership doesn’t establish and protect a healthy culture, some unhealthy culture will fill that vacuum… If a pocket of negativity or cynicism exists, it’s because leadership hasn’t cut it out of the organisation – especially when the pocket of negativity comes from the leadership ranks”.

Culture is like the wind. It is invisible; yet its effect can be seen and felt.

BRYAN WALKER, Partner and Managing Director, IDEO

There was this one time when I was working for a start-up company who over-hired during the pre-opening phase due to the ambitious large scale of the operation.

As the company moved into the opening and post-opening phases they had to reduce the size of the team to improve financial and operational efficiency.

The problem was is that the leadership team continued to down-size more than once and the leadership team continually change over a period of three years, which resulted in a lack of trust and the development of an unhealthy culture.

An unhealthy culture then began to spread external to the company into the community, like a plague of locusts, creating negative brand image and consumer distrust that resulted in members leaving.

Today I want to share with you three ways that you can be in more control of your culture and ensure that a positive environment exists in your team or company:

  1. You must live and breath the company identitylead by example, be a positive role model, and show your team members what the right or acceptable behavior is.
  2. Build a relationship and communicate regularly with your team members. Get to know them in both a formal and informal setting, and be curious by asking questions that allow the team members to feel valued and know that their work matters.
  3. Empower team members, inspire them to do their best work and recognize and reward them for positive behaviors that continually strengthen the culture.

It is important that you protect your wood, ensure that it is watered, has adequate nutrients and is protected from the harsh elements.

RESOURCES:

Ashworth, P. (2015). Why Company Culture is So Important to Business Success. BrightCoach LinkedIn Articlelink

Iannarino, A. (2012). A Fish Rots from the Head Down (A Note to the Sales Leader). Iannarino Company Website. link

Kaplan, M., Dollar, B., Melian, V., Van Durme, Y., Wong, J. (2016). Shape Culture Drive Strategy. Deloitte Insights. link

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Beyond The Comfort Zone Link
High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link
Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

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Walking The Talk

WALKING THE TALK

Walking The Talk
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Walking the Talk

It is amazing at how often aspects of life come around in cycles. The walking meeting, which is now starting to make more traction in the business world, is no different.

In an Inspiring Great Leaders (previously active CEO) Podcast interview with former Sport Australia CEO, Kate Palmer, we talked about how she utilises walking meetings and the importance of encouraging her staff to do the same. Kate takes incorporating movement with meetings a step further by sitting on an exercise bike, which she recently placed in her office, and riding while on conference calls. She is also considering putting a second bike in her office, to encourage visitors to join her for a ride when having a face-to-face meeting.

Some of the world’s most influential people, such as Aristotle, Beethoven and Queen Elizabeth I, have used the tool to great effect. Now it is common for CEO’s and leaders of some of the world’s most high profile companies such as LinkedIn and Facebook to make walking meetings a daily habit.

Studies are demonstrating that exercise, including walking, alters our brain by stimulating the growth of new brain cells, improving its plasticity and even protecting the brain from cognitive impairment.

Your mind is no different to the muscles in your body. If you stress a muscle, it will become fatigued and therefore lead to a reduction in performance. You then rest or deploy recovery strategies, the muscle recovers and physiological processes occur which allow your performance to improve to a new level. The brain works in the same way when it is stimulated, with new brain cells forming and an increase in cognitive function occurring when you give it a rest, allowing you to think clearer and open up more creative ideas and solutions to come to fruition.

There are the health benefits of fresh air (depending on what location you are in), getting the body moving, and the mental relaxation that tends to occur when we are surrounded by nature and a change in scenery. Walking allows the brain to reduce lingering doubt and procrastination that tends to occur when remaining in a single location while completing work.

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Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

It has also been shown that positive influences on our mental function and cognitive ability occur when our bodies are moving. Going for a walk has been noted to release beneficial hormones such as endorphins so we feel better and more alert, while also encouraging creativity and inspiration.

A 2017 Stanford University study found that walking encouraged divergent thinking. The increase in divergent thinking occurred no matter whether the exercise occurred prior to or during thinking through a question, problem or puzzle they faced. The activity of walking or other exercise triggers greater creativity, and therefore patterns of ideas that come to mind.

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Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Anecdotal evidence has found that honest exchanges between people are more productive when walking than when people are sitting. It is believed that walking enables barriers are reduced between supervisors and subordinates, enhancing employee engagement. It is thought that walking side-by-side relates more to peer-to-peer, therefore removing some of the hierarchical barriers than can occur when sitting across from each other, when having discussions.

If you want to enhance the effectiveness of your walking meetings, try incorporating some fun and choosing a change in scenery, stick to small groups of two to four people, avoid going near cafes or food stands, and reduce the element of surprise by giving your colleagues some lead time on having a walking meeting.

RESOURCES:

Clayton, R., Thomas, C., & Smothers, J. (2015). How to do Walking Meetings Right. Harvard Business Review, August 2015. link

Malleret, T., Maxwell, C. (2018). Enhance Decision Making and Problem Solving by Walking. Wharton Business School, Sep 2018. link

Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142-1152.

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READ MORE ARTICLES

Beyond The Comfort Zone Link
High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link
Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

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Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

Beyond The Comfort Zone

BEYOND THE COMFORT ZONE

By Craig Johns

A comfort zone is a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there.

Successful people have the unique ability to perform under high levels of pressure. Pressure comes from internal and external expectations, and as the stakes rise, fear grows. Being able to deal with fear and the uncomfortable feelings that are associated, you have to be better prepared to control your state of mind.

Why do we feel uncomfortable? That uncomfortable feeling comes from going into a place where you have never been before. You are making a change and disrupting the way your mind and body are used to doing something. It might be doing something for the first time or doing something you haven’t done for a while. It could be doing something you are used to, but the conditions or parameters have changed.

When you first experience a struggle and you feel uncomfortable, you start to second-guess yourself. Remember nothing in life comes easy and the greatest satisfaction is the result of overcoming something that takes us out of our comfort zone and takes us to a whole new level. You need a mindset of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. This is the price of progression.

“If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done.

Here are some ways to take you beyond the comfort zone:

SHOW UP

You will feel most uncomfortable when you take the first step and make a decision to start. That commitment to get off the start-line means the battle is half done. Most great ideas never get started, but once you have taken the first step, the real work begins. You made a choice, a commitment, and now you need to show up.

ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER

Sometimes your actions don’t go to plan. You may not be seeing results, the progress is slow, and you are being told that it won’t work or self-doubt is kicking in. This is the point where everyone considers giving up and start asking themselves, “why am I doing this?”. At this point you have to be brave and be ready to answer honestly. Your purpose needs to be crystal clear, because this is when the true battle begins and it is the time to shine.

FAKE IT WHILE YOU MAKE IT

Fear kills more dreams than failure, so you have to control the controllable’s and brainwash yourself with lots of positive affirmations and thoughts. Pretend to be confident and visualize how it will look. Preparation and belief are your best friends.

EMBRACE ‘THE SUCK’

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Deal with the adversity, the challenge, the pain, or the uncomfortable feeling by welcoming it with open arms. Make it your friend, as ‘the suck’ is the reason that is going to make you better. You are building your mental and physical toughness, which leads to greater levels of resilience.

SURROUND YOURSELF

Create a team and environment that supports the challenge. An environment that is positive and provides you with the feedback required to deal with the positive and negative thoughts, and perceived obstacles to achieve your goal.

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE

To continually extend the boundaries of what you thought was possible, you need to understand how you overcome uncomfortable experiences in the past. Use your understandings to build your confidence. Start to notice the patterns of your thoughts and record them. Record the characteristics of your fears, such as when does it appear, where does your mind wander, how do you cope with it and how you construct your intentions to deal with it. Create an internal culture of reveling in achievement and understanding how you deal with situations.

REPETITION

Your mind and body are comfortable with familiarity. The more you perform in an uncomfortable state, the more confidence you will develop. It is a mindset you have to develop, so you can allow your thoughts and emotions to adapt and grow.

TAKE ACTION

What rituals and behaviors can you create, so that each day you feel more comfortable with the uncomfortable? Once you have developed these actions, you need to be patient and be prepared for the long-game, as it will take some to become an automatic part of your life. Over time you will feel more confident, empowered and prepared to face the uncomfortable more often. The result of this process is a life of growth, excitement and success.

Are you ready to go beyond the comfort zone?

DOWNLOAD

To learn more about proactively planning your recovery and scheduling your energy, please DOWNLOAD the Break the CEO Code Whitepaper

READ MORE ARTICLES

High Performers Cultivate More Powerful Traits Link
Rockstar of Efficiency Link
Are You Living Link
People Are Our Greatest Assets Link
It’s All About Trust Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link

LEARN MORE

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active CEO CORPORATE
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Craig Johns SPEAKER
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