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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Trust Craig Johns It Is All About Trust

It Is All About Trust

An article in the New Zealand Herald (Donaldson, 2018) brought up a great discussion between ‘Command and Control’ versus ‘Self-Determination Theory’ in sport. It raised some great questions that relate to both the business world as well as the coach-athlete relationship. Has the traditional ‘hierarchical’ systems, which lead to command and control, become outdated or is there still a place for this type of leadership behaviour?

Let’s take a look at what the central currency to any community or relationship is. Trust is essential to any relationship and is, according to Mayer et al., made up of three key elements: ability; benevolence; integrity.

Ability is built on the skills, competencies and characteristics that enable a person to perform tasks in a specific domain. As a relationship is building those involved will be ascertaining whether the other party can do what they say, have a track record of performance in that particular area and is their any evidence supporting their claim to competency. It is usually situation specific as we cannot be highly skilled in everything we do.

Benevolence is based on the foundation of how much do they actually care about the relationship versus aspects such as money, power or self-fulfilment. Early in the relationship you are trying to understand each others situation, how much do you want to help each other and are the actions being taken beneficial for each other.

Integrity refers to our acceptance of a set of principles and whether they are being adhered to. Are the actions taken from and adhered to against a set of principles? We want to know whether they will guide or motivate our performance, are we accepting of each others performance principles, and do both sets of principles align or can they coexist.

I would also add a fourth dimension to trust, and that is enjoyment. Enjoyment is the number one retention factor for any type of community or relationship. It helps to love what you are doing and have fun why you are doing it. If the environment is enjoyable, then you are more likely to stay connected.

Command and control is based on an aggressive, micro-managing and dictatorial approach, which sometimes maybe referred to as ‘it is my way or the highway’ approach. It is a common approach that leaders fall into when the pressure for success in business or sport is enormous and a win-at-all-costs mentality is allowed to fester. In certain circumstances this mentality may result in bullying behaviours and a ‘culture of fear’, which are not appropriate our society.

We are seeing the command and control hierarchial approach being replaced in the work place and on the sports fields over time, but there are still many instances of this type of behaviour occurring in society. As people’s awareness, rights, confidence in ability to speak up and community acceptance that you should bring issues to the forefront, acts of bullying are being raised and stamped out. However it is still prevalent in politics, sport and the workplace.

Over the past two decades or so, we have started to see leaders evolve their approach as they understand that their are more effective ways to reach higher levels of performance and productivity. The Self-Determination Theory provides a great platform to understand how we can perform at our best and bring out the best in the people we work with.

Self-Determination Theory is built on 3 core elements; autonomy; relatedness; and competence.

Autonomy is feeling you have a choice, that what you’re doing is of your own volition. Relatedness is to care for and be cared about by others, to feel you are contributing to something greater than yourself, to have your values align with the goals of the team or programme. Competence is about skill levels but athletes also need to feel they are learning and growing, not just reaching a set level.” (Donaldson, 2018)

If we are building a high performance environment, we need to allow our people to feel valued, be able to speak, have a sense of purpose and be true to themselves. We need to provide an environment where people feel highly motivated, feel like they belong and are happy, which the components of the Self-Determination Theory provides.

To build a feeling of autonomy in our people and ensure they are highly motivated and engaged, it is important that we reduce and refrain from approaches that involve dictating, incentivizing and applying heigh levels of pressure. We need to trust the abilities of our people and work on alleviating the fear inside our heads that we won’t achieve the desired results.

One of the most powerful skills a leader can possess is listening. To bring out the best in people, they need to have a voice and be involved in a collaborative way. That doesn’t mean as leaders that we can’t make the tough decisions, it eludes to ensuring that the feelings, values and thoughts of our people are taken into consideration to ensure they are closely aligned to the goals.

HOW MUCH TRUST DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR PEOPLE?

RESOURCES

Donaldson. M. (2018). New Zealand Sport Model ‘Outdated’. New Zealand Herald, 24 June 2018. link

Roger C. Mayer, James H Davis, and F. David Schoorman (1995). An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust. The Academy of Management Review, 20 (3), July 1995, 709-734.

Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

The Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

The Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

There is no easy way to the top of Everest and it is the same in business. CEO’s have all made sacrifices to get to sit in the big seat. The big question is, “are many of the sacrifices made actually necessary”?

So often we see people putting in long hours, pleasing the boss, fueling their ego and trying to get a step ahead of their colleagues, like it is a game. So, how much productivity is lost through people being overworked, over-stressed and caught in a negative frame of mind?

Many people only see the successes of a CEO, rather than what lies below the surface. Hard work, dedication, discipline, persistence, failure, disappointment, sacrifice and failure are what it takes to get to the top in any industry.

Recently we surveyed a number of CEO’s, Senior Managers and Business Owners (CEO) on “What are the top 5 CEO sacrifices you have made, that you would take back in a heartbeat?”

The top 5 sacrifices are:

#1 limited time with children and family,

#2 not prioritising my own fitness,

#3 a lack of time to look after my health and wellness,

#4 forgetting about my friends, and

#5 working during family holidays.

When you take a look at this list, you notice a number of aspects that so many people value, especially family, but when it comes to the crunch people often choose work first. It is common for people to make the choice to work as they think there will always be time for family and friends.

“Spending too much time with accountants and lawyers (it took time away from people that really mattered).”

There is more and more research showing that sleep, as well as psychological and physiological recovery, are major ingredients in mental and physical performance. Why do we then sacrifice the most important aspects of growth to overwork our brains?

 “Pure vacations, as business owner there is no pure down time”

Not having enough time for hobbies and personal development were also common. Many people wait until they are retired before they focus adequate time on themselves and what they really want to do in life. In many cases they lack the energy to really do what they want when they retire as they have neglected their health, wellness and fitness for some many years as they ground it out every day at work.

“Exercising more and less procrastination when thinking about exercising”

It was interesting to hear that a number of CEO’s say they sacrificed a lot of time with negative colleagues and Board members. They noted at times it made their life miserable, as it took the enjoyment and time away from their innovative and creative mind.

“Not being aggressive about Board of Directors composition. I need a Board that adds value, not just meet and waste my time. It was a sacrifice because it made my life miserable.”

The one aspect the resonated a lot with us, is that a number of the CEO’s felt they didn’t say ‘thank you’ enough, to those that really matter. Gratitude is an important part of being a successful leader. We sometimes forget that a lot of other people in our lives are making sacrifices to support our drive for success.

“Not saying thank you enough – to my family, my friends (many were neglected) and employees (who really made the company work).”

You have a choice, you can commit to the hard slog and burn the candle or you can put measures in place to ensure your productivity is high and you have the time for the important aspects that matter in life.

Stay tuned as we begin to open you to a different way of approaching work so you can deliver a high level of performance in all aspects of life.

What are your CEO Sacrifices?

READ MORE ARTICLES

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link

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