Drop the hammer and pick up the shovel

“Drop the hammer and pick up the shovel.”

—attributed to J.A. Dever

Image of a shovel full of dirt

Image from Flickr by Daniel R. Blume

If you are a student of leadership and management theory, I’m sure you are fully aware that the old school “Command and Control” Taskmaster, or in this case, “Drop the Hammer” approach to success is history.

With the intense competition for talent, organizations and their leaders must create collaborative and cooperative cultures wherein each employee can develop and contribute in a meaningful way to remain engaged. Without the side-by-side pursuit of individual and organizational achievement, many top people will seek their futures elsewhere.

EXERCISE:

Where would more of a “Pick up the Shovel,” team leader approach to people and results be just the ticket for you and your organization to thrive today, and well into the future?

The Heart of Any Good Business

“At the heart of any good business is a chief executive officer with one.”

—Malcolm Forbes, late publisher of Forbes Magazine

Image of Malcolm Forbes - heart quote

Image from Adweek

The unemployment rate is at the lowest level in decades, and the search for talent is more competitive than any time most of us can remember.

With over 70 million Baby Boomers having exited or in the process of leaving the workforce, the prospect of attracting and retaining top talent to compete successfully in the global economy is not likely to get any easier.

Beyond all the benefits, perks, and bonuses, many leaders are finding it difficult to attract and retain the best and brightest.

EXERCISE:

What heart-based or heart-felt behaviors and cultural efforts can you initiate and sustain throughout your organization? What needs to happen – especially within the leadership ranks – to be one of the Good to Great and Built to Last organizations we so admire?

 

Use What Talent You Possess

“Use what talent you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”

—Henry Van Dyke, 20th Century American educator

Image of Olympic Ice Skaters

Image from Flickr by Rach

We live in a hyper-competitive world. Simply look around and see the countless examples in your personal and professional worlds.

For our children, it begins quite early with school and sports and other extra-curricular activities. As we enter our early adult years, the competition to get in the best schools and desirable companies can be fierce. Then we have to climb the corporate ladder.

Perhaps the primary goal of our journey through life is to reveal our unique abilities and talents. Perhaps it is our job or purpose to express and share them with the world as we become better versions of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

What are your special talents? How can and will you develop them to your fullest capacity, and offer them generously within your communities with your voice both loud and proud?

Cultivate Something Special

“Like an oyster cultivating a pearl, cultivate something that is special to you.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a peral in a shell

Image from Prettywomanbeauty.gr

I recently watched a National Geographic special titled The Secret Life of Pearls, which explains the process by which South Sea pearls are produced. The show demonstrates the massive lengths of time and even life threatening dangers involved in creating these beautiful and highly prized marine gems.

Each of us has abilities, talents, and characteristics the make us who we are. These special qualities bring us much pleasure and satisfaction when we express them and share them with others in our personal and professional communities.

The use, practice, and pursuit of excellence and even mastery in these areas can create a sense of flow and timeless engagement, which often produces even more fulfillment.

EXERCISE:

What special qualities, talents, and unique abilities can you emphasize and cultivate moving forward?  Who in your communities can help you identify these qualities and support your growth in the areas that are special to you?

Check out The Secret Life of Pearls on the National Geographic Channel or on YouTube

become a cause not a company

“How can we become a cause and not just a company?”

—Tim Ogilvie, New York City-based Entrepreneur

Image of Daniel Pink's book "Drive"

Employee engagement is a hot topic. Every day, I meet with business leaders pulling their hair out over the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent.

In his 2009 book Drive, Daniel Pink explores factors that engage and motivate employees to be their best, to be attracted to the organizations that fulfill their need for meaning and purpose.

Some companies do a better job than others at making a profound impact on the stakeholder groups they genuinely seek to serve.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you ignite and expand your company or organizational purpose?

How can tapping into this desire for a passionate purpose set you apart from your competitors?

How might it generate a waiting list of eager talented applicants who want to be part of something extraordinary?

Friday Review Talent

Friday Review: Talent

What talents do you bring to your personal or professional worlds? Here are a few behavior-related posts you may have missed. Click on the Quote to read the full message:

 

Image of The Talent Code book cover

“One of my greatest talents is recognizing talent in others and giving them the forum to shine.”

 

 

 

 

Image of man daydreaming

“Don’t quit your day dream.”

 

 

 

 

Image of fireworks

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”

 

 

 

 

“Light yourself on fire with…”

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”

-Author Unknown

Image from abetterinterview.com

Image from abetterinterview.com

Years ago, I attended a local meeting of coaches, where the majority of people did not know one another. As an ice breaker, the group decided to engage in an exercise we called a “passion presentation.” The rules were simple: each person had two to three minutes to share any area of their lives that literally lit them up. The fellow coaches could then ask questions in order to learn more.

The result was a room on fire! No one could contain their passion to the few minutes allotted, and we eventually threw the time constraint out the window. The exercise continued for most of the meeting.

EXERCISE:

Whenever you see the need to break the ice in your personal or professional world, just ask people what they are passionate about, and watch their fires burn. Sharing your passions with others will likely excite those around you, as well.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to…”

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

—Pablo Picasso

Image from worldonafork.com

Image from worldonafork.com

How often do you find yourself or others in your life waiting to be inspired by some outside source? During his 75-year career, Pablo Picasso created 13,500 paintings, 100,000 graphic prints or engravings, 34,000 book illustrations, and 300 sculptures and ceramic pieces. He was also a stage designer, poet, and playwright.

To say he was a man of action is a massive understatement. He was definitely an individual who used his propensity for action and ever-present momentum to continually inspire creative expressions of his genius.

EXERCISE:

How can you find greater inspiration through the various personal or professional work projects underway? What additional work could more fully utilize your gifts, talents, and unique abilities to inspire even more of your own genius?

“Don’t quit your day dream”

“Don’t quit your day dream.”

-Author Unknown

Photo from www.johnlund.com

Photo from www.johnlund.com

For many of us, the act of daydreaming is about longing to be somewhere else, doing something else. This often flies in the face of our day jobs—jobs that have become, for some, unfulfilling or even toxic.

When we daydream, there is a heightened sense of excitement, and a desire to live and work more consistently with our most authentic beliefs and desires.

In many ways, the coaching process encourages each individual to be true to themselves, giving them greater access to more of their personal power, gifts, and inherent talents. Who wouldn’t want far more of that?

EXERCISE:

What would be possible if you lived more consistently by the phrase, “Don’t quit your day dream” instead of “Don’t quit your day job”?

What specific actions can you take today to do just that?

“Hide not your talents…”

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made / what’s a sundial in the shade?”

—attributed to Benjamin Franklin

Photo from Flickr by James Achel

Photo from Flickr by James Achel

Yesterday’s quote about talent caused me to select today’s quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

One of the values of a coaching relationship is helping the individual more fully discover and express the talents within. In many cases, these talents have been hidden, or kept in the shade.

EXERCISE:

Who are the people in your professional and personal lives most capable of shining a bright light on your visible and hidden talents? How can you—and how will you—play this important role for others?