Sometimes, we think people who have succeeded knew all along the whole thing would work out.
They had some crazy amount of confidence and insight from the get go.
They are super human in their ability to pick the right projects and then see them to completion.
That is a lie. Nobody knows if something will work or not. They don’t. Ask Jim Parsons, he plays the wildly popular Sheldon on the show, “The Big Bang Theory.”
When asked about the show by radio host Dan Patrick, he immediately said, “I had no idea that the show would be popular. Even after we filmed the first seven episodes I didn’t have a sense of whether people would like it.”
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t tell if what you are working on right now will work.
Nobody knows if it will.
Google’s Project Oxygen created buzz several years ago when they concluded, after deep research, that the typical success of an individual employed at the tech juggernaut was based on Emotional Intelligence and not the assumed stellar STEM acumen (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math).
Now, its recent discovery about Team High-Performance also upended the team development paradigms through Project Aristotle. The content below was quoted from their research.
First, researchers discovered which variables were not significantly connected with team effectiveness at Google:
- Colocation of teammates (sitting together in the same office)
- Consensus-driven decision making
- Extroversion of team members
- Individual performance of team members
- Workload size
- Team size
So what was the magic sauce for High Team Performance at the Tech Giant?
If these 5 aren’t blooming on your team, first ask yourself if there are politics, egos and drama at play.
But how do you start building these into the culture of your team? They first come from the overflow of the leader- both the immediate team director and their senior leaders. You can even have a dynamic team leader, but the senior leader(s) directly affect the energy, focus and emotional energies of a department.
Do you make safe for your team to disagree? Be autonomous?
Do you model and value excellence?
Do your team members have a clear idea of their roles and goals?
Is their “why” (purpose) fueling their “what” (tasks)?
Do they keep a scoreboard showing impact?
For more info on Google’s Project Aristotle, read it’s Re-Work paper here
Leaders aren’t born. They’re made.
Coach Vince Lombardi recognized the trend in high-achievers. That they worked hard, were committed, had vision and led by example. He said it best:
“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
But here’s the question: what happens when someone embraces the common belief that leaders are “born”instead?
This way of thinking falsely believes that:
- Leadership is now a mystical “gift” that only charismatic personality types possess
- Therefore people won’t grow to become a more effective leader…they become stuck in a “fixed” mindset
- Companies won’t invest in developing leaders because they don’t believe in it. Instead, they only focus on hiring practices to bolster leadership bench strength. But that becomes just an excuse.
But, if leaders ARE made, then leadership can be learned.
People will grow beyond their own perceived limitations.
Teams grow their own leaders. Turnover lowers. The best and brightest rise from within. And stay.
And someone chooses to become more. Because they can.
He was asked by host Charlie Rose, “What is the most important lesson you have learned in the last ten years as the CEO of GE?”
Without hesitation Jeffrey answered.
He said, “I think it’s humility and the curiosity that comes with it. In other words, the big mistakes you make are when you stop asking questions, but if you’re hungry and humble and you are always digging for that extra piece of knowledge…that’s how the world works.”
While it is somewhat fashionable for CEO’s and thought leaders to list humility in leadership as one of the most desired qualities, I think there is a kernel of truth in it.
Here are the three powerful words that sum up this type of humility : “I Don’t Know”.
Any influencer should seek to balance the “I know” – i.e. confidence in yourself, your team, your vision – with the “I don’t know”.
The “I don’t know principle”, or humility, says this:
- I could be wrong.
- What I know is not from me.
- Where I have arrived is not because of me.
- I have been given so I can give.
- I am not better than any other human being.
- I am not invincible.
- We are all stupid, but in different things.
It’s both scary in it’s authenticity and powerful because of it’s affect on others.
That type of authenticity and humility is magnetic and pulls people together. And it builds HUGE levels of trust with others.
“I don’t know.”
So take the pressure off of yourself. We don’t need to be the the smartest person in the room.
Tap into the genius of others.
I’m sitting in a hotel room, traveling for some coaching appointments scheduled for tomorrow.
I bet you can’t guess what I did right before writing this?
Is your guess “lifting weights” because I’m huge? I appreciate that, but that’s not what I was doing.
Prior to sitting down to write this short blog post, I was watching clips of the best blind auditions on the show “The Voice.” (Did you know Keith Urban is a judge on the Australian version of the Voice? That felt like he was cheating on American Idol.)
Why was I doing that? Because I needed to get inspired to write.
I spent the day traveling from home to nice southern town in Kentucky…but it was a dreary, grey day and writing is the last thing I wanted to do.
So, I went to one of my standbys for a quick hit of inspiration, Voice auditions.
Is that a little weird? It is.
So is watching the, “How you do you like dem apples” scene in Good Will Hunting.
I do a lot of weird things, but here’s a secret. They work. Getting motivated isn’t a science. It’s an art, a messy art.
On any given day, there are about a billion things that can bring you down.
Arguing about politics.
Your bank account.
That sound your car started making that you pretended was just other cars near you but you can no longer deny it. The list goes on and on. Demotivators, not technically a word which in and of itself bums me out, don’t play fair. Why should we?
So do something weird until you get your hype back.
The truth is, it’s not weird if it works.
I have a friend who is about to walk away from his $100,000+ per year job.
They’re considered a successful leader. They’re team loves them….and they get phenomenal results.
The sense of mission and passion has never waned. There’s no problem being avoided.
Why are they about to call it quits?
He’s burned out. Tired. Completely drained emotionally, mentally – and it’s now affecting his close relationships.
When good people leave, I find that key decision-makers hesitate to ask the hard questions.
Instead, we make excuses vs. making changes that would have sustained good people.
Extracting value from people is often justified because there’s a fear of someone sitting idle, “Rusting Out” so to speak, and not being efficient.
Usually the opposite is the problem….the best and brightest drive themselves so hard they go past the point of no return.
The only cure for sustainability is a restoration of energy: emotionally, mentally and physically.
If you and I truly care, it requires an emphasis on driving health along with driving results.
It’s always about relationships and results. Never “Either/Or” but always “Both/And.”
What can you do to restore your own energy levels?
Einstein said “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
Exceptional things can happen with minimal talent.
In culture, we idolize talent, titles and temporary fame….confusing what’s exceptional with ego.
However, I’ve seen exceptional people shine when others’ have dismissed or discounted their potential.
Here are ten that have huge impact on our potential and performance:
- Be on time
- Work Ethic
- Body Language
- Being Teachable
- Doing Extra
- Being Prepared
Real influencers are leaders before others recognize them as a “leader.“
You don’t have to have a higher degree or a large “title” to impact those around you.