Are You Seeing The big Picture Craig Johns

ARE YOU SEEING THE BIG PICTURE?

Do you know what helps you navigate the clutter, complexity and commotion on a daily basis that allows you to take a birds eye view and see the big picture?

It is a challenge when you have your head down, in the zone and focused on the task at hand to understand where you are at and even sometimes to clarify what the big picture really is. The big picture is about:

  • Knowing not just how and what to do, but knowing why
  • Viewing the whole and not just its parts
  • Seeing a vision, a sense of the bigger picture
  • Having the ability to see significance in work, beyond the obvious
  • Understanding that a legacy will live on, whether in the bricks and morter or in the impact made on other people

You have to know what naturally helps you to clear the mind and find the space to step outside your body and mind so you can focus on what is really important. For me, it is going for a long ride by myself or running on a trail. I find it’s my form of meditation and reality check.

Some people find travel helps them to find a clearer perspective, as 10,000 feet up provides a pretty good birds eye view of situations. Another common time is when listening to podcasts that challenge our ways of thinking, leadership strategies or are industry related.

Sometimes we find it difficult to see the big picture by ourselves. You may find it easier through conversations with a friend, colleague or even a group of like-minded people in a “circle of trust’ monthly catch-up over a coffee.

When it comes to financial analysis, you may find manually writing out your budget or financial reviews with pen and paper allows you think of the numbers in a different way than on a computer screen where formulas are producing numbers for you.

A lot of people will work continuously without breaks during a day. Research shows that our ability to perform tasks diminishes after approximately 90minutes of concerted effort and focus. It is important to take a 5-15min break every 90minutes allowing your mind a chance to recharge and your body a chance to move around rather than sitting in one place.

Going long periods of time without a break may also result in you heading down a rabbit hole of time-consuming focus on the unimportant things, without realizing you are on a path of less value.

Organising a dedicated brainstorm or review session with team members of what you are currently doing and where you can go, while ensuring that everything is aligned to the overall mission, strategies and goals is crucial. You will find it invaluable as not only does it provide a big picture check for you, but it also enables the team to develop greater cohesion in what the big picture looks like to everyone.

I have witnessed a few people using apps, such as rescue time, to monitor and track their use of time. It allows them to see how much time is spent on each daily activity and most importantly on the tasks that are making forward progress.

We are often caught up in our own assumptions, ways of thinking and complexity. Try challenge some of your assumptions to see what would happen if you removed one or more of them. Remember complexity is the enemy, so sometimes the most simple and obvious thing maybe blurred or hidden from our ability to see the big picture.

Identify whether you team have a connection to the big picture. Share the big picture regularly by providing the details first and then the context later. Ask them what they see and make sure that you connect the big picture to their work. Most importantly connect the big picture to meaning as people want to know that their working has a purpose.

Make sure that you include the activities that allow you to see clarity from a big picture point-of-view, in your daily or weekly routines. It is crucial that you are on the right road and haven’t taken the wrong left turn. To take it to the next level, it is even more valuable to ensure that you have time following your big picture activities, to find time to analyse and translate your insights into specific actions.

Life is all about choice. We may feel we are snowed under, constrained by deadlines and under the pump from either your boss or a client, but remember you are the one in control. Prioritise what is important, what you need to gain clarity and disregard the meaningless activities that halt your progress. What you do is only as good as the clarity of your big picture.

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4 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY Craig Johns

4 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY

FUTURE 8 – 2X2X2X2

IMG_2473

4 Ways To Improve Your Productivity. You are what you repeatedly do and what you repeatedly do ultimately forms the person you are. It defines the things you believe in, your personality and the way you move.

Every day we make small decisions and perform actions that form habits. Our life is the sum of our habits and research by Duke University has shown that 40% of our behaviours every given day are a result of them.

Habits are formed through a simple neurological loop pattern of a cue, routine and a reward, as discovered by MIT researchers. The cue is a result of a trigger that initiates the behaviour. The routine is the action you take and the behaviour that is formed. The reward is the benefit you gain from performing the behaviour.

“Success is the sum of small parts, repeated day in and day out.”

ROBERT COLLIER

It is vitally important to use your positive habits to be in the NOW and focus on what you are currently doing. However it is more important that you develop new habits, by planting new seeds, to ensure that you are continuing to GROW every single day.

We have developed a formula that is based on growth habits that allow you to improve your well being, expand your knowledge, build your networks and make a difference to people. The Future 8 daily formula involves performing a minimum of 2 actions of the following four areas each day:

  • 2x CONNECT – contact someone new or reconnect an old acquaintance
  • 2x ENERGY – action something that supports your health and fitness.
  • 2x PERFORMANCE – learn something new
  • 2x SHARE – pay it forward by sharing your knowledge, thoughts and wisdom

CONNECT (2X)

It is important to build your network and work on your relationships. Pick up the phone, send a text or write an email to someone you would like to connect with, whether it is to enhance your knowledge, skills and understanding or to speak with a prospective consumer. We quite often forget that it is important to put time and energy into those who are already consumers or friends of your network. Reconnecting with those who already have a connection with you leads to retention, which is the best form of growth. Who are you going to call today?

ENERGY (2X)

When we get busy, we become tired and start craving unhealthy options. These options might be fast food, no rest breaks during the day, deciding to put off that run or going to bed late. Your mind and body require energy to be exerted and rest to recover for it to perform at its optimum each day. It doesn’t matter whether it is productivity in the workplace, you have a personal fitness goal you are aiming for or a relationship, you want to be able to perform at your best. Start the day with a 30min run or gym session, go for a walk through the park at lunch, have a bowl of fruit, take the time to play with your children before dinner or do a 15min meditation session at morning tea are all ways to recharge and allow both your body and mind to perform brilliance. What will you do to energise your day?

PERFORMANCE (2X)

For you to continually grow you need to add some water each day. It is very common for most successful people to read every day. Bill Gates reads a new book each week, Oprah Winfrey started the Oprah’s Book Club, Mark Cuban reads three hours a day and many successful people now tune into podcasts each day as a way of learning while resting the eyes. Pick a new topic to learn something new each day. Try reading an article, listening to a podcast, discussing with a colleague, or watching a video on something that either improves your work performance, healthy lifestyle or broadens your intellectual horizons. What will you learn today that you didn’t know yesterday?

SHARE (2X)

The more you give, the more you get. Focusing on helping someone else first will mean you gain more in the long-term. Planting a seed in someone else is more powerful than watering our own seeds. Write a blog post, share an article on your LinkedIn page, call someone who would learn from your wisdom or talk to a stranger on a plane. What is even more powerful than sharing your knowledge, thoughts and wisdom, is to make them laugh and smile while you do it. Make it fun and enjoyable and they are more likely to remember and learn from their interaction from you. Who will you share your knowledge, thoughts and wisdom with today?

It is as easy as starting the day as you would like to finish it. To begin with it is really useful to write down the 2x2x2x2 15min before you go home from work each day to ensure that you have checked everything off. If not, you still have time to complete the day in style.

FUTURE 8 Formula – 2x2x2x2

  • Who are the 2 people you are going to call today?
  • What are the 2 things you will do to energise your day?
  • What are the 2 things you will learn today?
  • What are the ways you will share your knowledge, thoughts & wisdom with today?

Start contacting, actioning, learning and sharing two thing each day and you will be surprised at how much your performance and productivity improves.

FUTURE 8 YOURSELF TODAY!

2x2x2x2

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Are leaders born Craig Johns Nelson Mandela

ARE LEADERS BORN?

nelson-mandela
Nelson Mandela – Photo Credit: Seattle Globalist

ARE LEADERS BORN?

Nature (our DNA) and nurture (environmental influences) both need to be taken into consideration when trying to understand how a leader is formed. The way I like to look at whether leaders are Born or Made, is by looking at leadership capability through the concept of a bell-curve.

At the bottom of the curve, there are ~10% of people that will struggle, no matter how hard they try, to be a good leader. Their DNA is just not wired to lead and every amount of training is unlikely to get them to a position where they can lead effectively. On the top of the bell curve are the ~10% of people who are born to lead. They are born with an innate instinct to lead. As they grow and develop they tend to continue getting better and better.

The other ~80% of people in the middle have the potential to be good leaders, if not great leaders. They have to be prepared to work really hard on their leadership skills, especially self-awareness. This involves learning how to take a ‘birds-eye-view’ of yourself, be open to asking for feedback and developing great listening skills.

However, I do believe that the world’s most exceptional visionary leaders are highly likely to only come from the ~10% of people who are born leaders.

To try and understand some of the discussion points around whether leaders are born or made, let’s look at some of the theories and evidence that support either side of the coin or both sides.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. They are the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Ronald Reagan (Adapted) 

THEORIES

According to the Great Man Theory, popularised in the 1840’s by Thomas Carlyle and Trait Theory, people inherit certain qualities and traits, which are aligned with leadership. People are born with different qualities that predispose them to be a leader, which is similar to someone who with the natural qualities of a gifted musician or talented athlete. They will naturally excel and thrive when confronted with the appropriate situations, whereas other people will struggle. The most exceptional leaders, don’t become overnight successes, they were leaders from the onset.

Behavioural Theories emphasise that the process of teaching, learning and observation allow people to become leaders. They believe the concept of leadership is something that can be learnt, like a skill through training, practice, perception and making observations over a period of time. But, to what level can a person achieve, from a leadership point of view, if they don’t have the natural charisma, ability to influence, natural integrity, and ability to motivate and inspire?

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

VINCE LOMBARDI

SITUATION

Some people are very good leaders in certain environments, but not others. They may lead well when they know and trust a small team they are working with, whereas they struggle in a larger team of people they don’t know so well. Even exceptional leaders are only effective when they are in specific locations or environments, for example they could be in a family, societal, community, national, or global environment.

Leaders, sometimes, don’t always stand out from the crowd. They are the quiet achievers, who have an uncanny ability lead people away from the limelight and in a very subtle way. Their quiet, softly spoken and under-the-radar approach may have a profound effect on the way people behave, how they perform and decisions they make.

“Leadership is not magnetic personality – that could just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

PETER DRUCKER

GENETIC

There are bodies of research that imply that 30% of leadership is genetic and 70% is learned. Although the percentage of genetic versus learned is likely to vary quite a lot between individual leaders, but it still implies that there is a major learning component to leadership.

Many leaders, tend to have an extroversion trait. They also tend to have high levels of empathy as well as social and emotional intelligence, whereas IQ is not always an important characteristic for a leader. As I discussed earlier, introverts can also be great leaders.

“Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead can substantially improve their abilities to do so.”

JAMES KOUZES & BARRY POSNER

GROWTH

Great leaders tend to be in constant growth, as they aim to improve every day. They tend to seek new experiences and a greater understanding of themselves.

People who are adjusted, social, ambitious and curious are more likely to become leaders. Their curious nature leads them to learn through mediums such as books, informal training from coaches or mentors, interpretations of life experiences, websites, observations, listening and formal training in an academic type setting.

“The leader must be able to know what followers want, when they want it, and what prevents them from getting what they want.”

BERNARD BASS

FINAL THOUGHTS

Leadership is a reflection of who you are and how you want to improve the world for the better. No matter whether leaders have come from a background of hardship and personal struggles or they have endured leadership through an abundance of resources, everyone can continue to develop their leadership skills through deliberate practice and experience.

Developing as a leader is no different to any other expert, where they grow through deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment.

Are leaders born?

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