Friday 27 April 2018

The power of choices

“It’s not the circumstances of life that shape your destiny, but the choices you make under these circumstances” – Batman: War on Crime

Make choices is one of the most powerful things that a human being can do, because as we make choices we characterize our life and we shape our destiny. Peter Drucker said “The best way to predict the future is to create it”, and to do that we need to make choices and take decisions. As examples, we can choose to live focused in problems or in opportunities. We can look back to our past finding failures and losses and project them in a dark and concerned future, or we can choose to face our past victories, failures and losses too, learn with them and then project our future goals. We can choose to drive our life or being driven by it. We can choose to be aware of the present moment or to allow our chatty and unsettled mind to fly unconsciously between the past and the future - and that creates anxiety and depression. Even all of us have the capability to choose our beliefs and thoughts, and the ability to choose between powerful or restrictive ones. Anthony Robbins said that, consciously or not, we’re always making choices about three fundamental things: what we’re focus on; the representation or meaning that we create about any event; and our behaviors. And if we can choose our beliefs, our thoughts, our events’ experiences and meanings, and our behaviors… do you believe that consciously we have the power to shape our personality? Think about that... Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) shows that we can consciously change our Meta Programs (a NLP concept that describe the mental pattern processes that run our lives at an unconscious level of awareness, and determine how information is processed to direct our decisions, behaviors, actions and interactions with others). And this is a choice too… a very powerful one!

Choose between alternatives and feel responsible

Responsibility is always related with choosing between alternative courses of action.  When you need to make a choice, on any kind of situation, you must:
  1. Have a clear understanding of the present situation, i.e., the actual circumstances that asks you for some kind of change – what do you see, what you don’t want to see, what you feel, what you say that you don´t feel, etc.; deepest awareness promotes easier change;
  2. Have a set of alternatives to analyze, choose one of them and make a trade-off of all the other ones (it’s so difficult to climb a mountain with unnecessary gear inside the backpack);
  3. Choose always the best for you, not the easier path.
If you follow these tree steps then you are taking the best decision for you under the actual circumstances and, very important, you are responsible for your decision and its consequences.

Let’s look at a common situation

Mark never made any choice between alternatives in his life… As time goes by he was driven by his life from, let’s say, situation A to situation B. Then I ask Mark: “Why are you here, at “B situation”? He answers: “Because yes… ”. Then the second question: “And do you like to be at this “B situation”? And he says: “Hummmm… I don’t know… that’s life… what else?...”.  Another question: “But would you like to have another life situation?” And Mark says: “Oh yes!!! A life situations where I have a wonderful house, a sustained job, a lovely wife, a powerful car, lots of money, etc. etc. etc.”.  And finally the critical question: “And why aren’t you there now?” And Mark says something like: “Because I never had luck in my life… When I was 20 I went to the army and I didn’t finished school; after that I had a job but my boss was horrible and fired me; then a felt in love with a beautiful girl and we were married; but I found out two years later that she was a foreigner girl who only wanted a local visa, not my love; Then I saw myself alone with our child in my arms...” (Ok, ok… did you saw this movie lots of time, didn’t you?). The fact is that Mark never took any choice between alternatives, he just followed the “natural path of life circumstances”, he was driven by his life… and now he blames everyone and everything about his situation! He doesn’t feel responsible for anything… he feels that he just had bad luck every time.

Then I met Susan who always made choices between alternatives in her life. As a consequence she drove her life from, let’s say, situation C to situation D. Then I ask Susan: “Why are you here, at “D situation”? She answers: “Because I wanted to”. Then the second question: “And do you like to be at this “D situation”? And she says: “Of course, it was my choice”.  Another question: “But would you like to have another life situation?” And Susan says “No, I don’t think so… I chose this one”. And finally I ask her: “And who is responsible for you to be here?” And Susan says smiling: “I am!... Who else?” Note that Susan doesn’t blame anyone or anything about her life situation, because she always made choices facing her live circumstances… And she fells responsible (and the only responsible) for her life path and results.

Now make things happen as you decide

Finally don’t forget that to achieve success, while you’re shaping your destiny, you need to take choices between alternatives, you need to make a strong commitment with yourself and you need to put action to make things happen! Otherwise you’ll fill your closet with lots of choices “ready to action”… but you’ll never drive your life, you’ll never shape your destiny, you´ll never feel responsible for your life path and circumstances... And then you’ll blame everything, you’ll blame everyone, and worst… you’ll blame yourself! Like a boat without helm you’ll sail through your life according the wind moves. So make choices between alternatives, take decisions, put actions, take risks, embrace uncertainties, face fears and make things happen while you feel responsible for that!

“Even when everything seems to collapse, it is up to me to decide between laughing or crying, going or staying, giving up or fighting; because I discovered, in the uncertain path of life, that the most important thing is to decide” – Cora Coralina

Thursday 8 March 2018

Why is it so difficult to do real Empowerment

An efficient empowerment inside organizations is one of the most frequently issue that I´ve worked with organizations managers, as a Coach or as a Mentor. Why is it so hard to put it in practice? Does a manager need specific skill to do it? Does a manager need some specific team or employee to do it? Or is it a matter of mind constrains?
This subject is more relevant on first line managers or even on senior managers facing fast growing or hard changes inside their companies, but generally speaking good empowerment is one of the biggest challenge for management.

What is empowerment

But what is empowerment? In fact it is a kind of delegation: the delegation of power. It is very easy to delegate tasks, it is more difficult to delegate power and it is an error to delegate responsibility (responsibility is never to be delegated: one can delegate tasks to an employee or a colleague, who will have some responsibility to perform that task on time and on budget, but the main responsibility remains on the former one – that’s why I always talk about “responsibility” and never about “guilt”: the first one is very easy to find, the second one always “dies alone”).

The non-empowerment usual scenario

So what´s the impact of the lack of empowerment in organizations? Think about a manager who has new responsibilities, a larger team to manage, a new BU to lead, some kind of a new large set of resources to deal with. In most situations he needs to jump from his usual arena, the operational tasks, to a new one where strategic thinking and strategic decisions need to be performed. He needs to be focused on the better way to sail the boat. He needs to find the right team leaders and empower them on specific areas… But this move is usually a difficult move! Note that the new responsibilities are already on his shoulders… but he has no time to do this new job. Why? Because he keeps his focus on the team operational tasks, as he did before. As a Coach I´m always listening things like: “I do the operations tasks better and faster that anyone in my team”, “I don’t have time to wait until others do their stuff… they spend twice my usual time”, “I work more than 12 hours per day and I don’t have time to manage my team, I don’t have time to define and implement the team strategy and I don’t have time to talk with my pears”, “I often need to ask some help and advices from my management, even when I feel that they think that I should do it alone, by myself”, “My team is unmotivated and I’m losing staff”, “My team does never improve their performance and I never see any employee development”, etc.

The snow ball effect

So it’s easy to see the cause-effect scenario: no empowerment means that I, as a manager, need to perform a significant set of my team tasks and decisions; then I don´t have time to perform my management tasks because I’m always focused on operational tasks and not on strategic ones; then I often need to ask my management to help me on tasks that they expect me to do; then I don´t feel comfortable about this situation; concerning my team, as I’m doing operational tasks and taking their decisions I get inside my staff work arena, then I don’t give them space to work and grow, and obviously they stay unmotivated… I feel like a soccer coach who trained his team and then jumps to the football field during the game instead of waiting outside… So I have the power! I’m doing everything and taking all the team’s decisions! I control everything! But I don´t have time to define, implement and correct the strategy issues. I don’t have time to dispatch subjects! I don´t have time to unlock processes’ bottlenecks! I’m failing as a manager, I’m letting down my management expectations about me and I´m not developing and motivating my team. Because I’m not delegating power! Because I´m not using the empowerment as a powerful management practice.

The empowerment barriers

And why does it happen? To do empowerment you need:
  1. to trust you team – it’s impossible to delegate power when you don’t trust others;
  2. to have attitude and the skills to perform real management tasks – unless your management was wrong when took you in charge, you have them;
  3. to be prepared to jump to a new uncomfortable zone – ok, this is the point! Most of the time my coachees discovered that the real reason not to “leave operational stuff” is not the enjoyment of that stuff, but in fact the fear to leaving their comfort zone and embrace the uncertainty… They need to feel that growing never happens in the comfort zones, the ones they know so well, and to have the awareness that to jump to an uncomfortable zone is only possible if they face their fears. And do you know what happens?  The fears disappear, because they are “what-if” thoughts, they are mind constrains, they live there and they are not real. In many situations the empowerment barrier is only a matter of mind constrains.

So work daily on team trust, delegate power to your line managers so thy can manage their units as entrepreneurs, ask them for accountability and use your time for your real management tasks: share the team mission - purpose, strategy, values and vision; strengthen stakeholders’ relationships; improve yourself as a leader; use leadership everywhere; motivate and develop your team and, of course, follow and achieve your business goals

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Why Dream Teams are so important in Companies today

Companies face today tremendous business challenges and they need to be successful on atypical markets, where business opportunities have very different patterns compared with the ones we found just a few years ago. To be a winner in this new and global environment companies must move correctly in new scenarios where change, high risk, zero tolerance, flexibility, and immediate actions on business arenas are a must. These attributes must be deeply internalize on their culture, strategy, business processes and people.
Companies must react to this new business paradigm being mostly concerned with creating a NEW EXCELLENCE ATTITUDE in people – the most valuable strategic asset in corporations, working their POTENTIAL with direct impact on their performance. This work must be done with individuals and teams. Companies trained their employers to be efficient but today this is not enough: they must be extraordinary! Happiness at work is no more a social or a moral issue: it's a business issue! Companies with motivated and happy employers focused on clear and shared goals, with innovative and creative opportunities to work, and with the ability to create and manage high functionality teams are companies that know how to win on these new atypical markets to get a business sustainable strategic position.
More then ever, the development of high functionality teams (Dream Teams) will make the difference on companies business results - I'm talking about top and meddle management teams, sales & marketing teams, finance teams, project teams, production or development teams, etc. Independently of the kind of the team, the most important thing is the ability to work and change the individual and team ATTITUDE
The change of this new attitude must be supported by a high transformative working process - from "I" to "US" - where mentoring, coaching and NLP programs, designed over proven models and methodologies, have a tremendous importance on the global results.

The Dream Team

Dream Teams are high performance and flexible trained teams that make the difference inside any company and under any kind of situation. They have a common attitude of excellence and the ability to perform the most highest results. They WANT and they BELIEVE on their mission! They are trained to win, to reach higher, to be focused on common goals, to use accountability between colleagues, to be committed with the team decisions and directions, to discuss hard issues with open and constructive mind-sets and to trust each other. They are fast, they move with flexibility, they are always adapted to new changes, and they have a common positive attitude.
Each element has a strong self-esteem, self-trust, and has no doubt about his important positions inside the group. Dream Teams have no fences, subgroups, individual goals or individual stars. The responsibility is assumed by all the elements, independent the victory or defeat.
The development of Dream Teams inside organizations, using a new attitude and mind-set approach, is an important way to respond to the tremendous business challenges that most companies face today.

Tuesday 27 February 2018

The two main pillars to Success

Attitude and hard work is a must

I’ve worked during the last 15 years with many people with a common purpose: to boost their potential and become better individuals inside organizations and also “inside their lives”. Working with so many different people, with so many different challenges and under so different circumstances allowed me to find a common pattern for those who want to achieve their success: their attitude and their ability to work hardIf one wants to leave some kind of mark in this world, some kind of mastery legacy at any kind of professional or non-professional area, then ATTITUDE and HARD WORK is a must!

Foster a “make things happen” attitude

The attitude is the first pillar to create and sustain success, and I’m talking about a “make things happen” attitude. This is the attitude that makes all the difference from those who are extraordinary (those who make things happening) and those who follow them (the ones who see things happening). The first ones put action over their decisions commitments. The second ones postpone their actions even they are related with fantastic projects… And nothing happens!  Knowledge is to know what do; ability is to know how to do it; and virtue is to do it!
This powerful attitude starts with a clear and a very strong self-internalization of our passion, of our mission, of our biggest purpose, of our deepest WHY. Why am I going to work? Why am I doing this project? Why am I moving in this direction? Why must I take decisions to drive my live? Why am I living for? In fact all of our WHY answers must be aligned with our passion, with our purpose and with our mission. People who live their passion with a sense of purpose, with a clear strategy, with a strong set of powerful believes and values, and with an endless energy to follow their cause are people who really make the difference in this world. They are the Nelson Mandelas, Mother Theresas, Martin Luther Kings, Einsteins, Picassos, Cristiano Ronaldos, Mahatma Gandhis, José Mourinhos… They are all the ones who adopt this attitude of mastery as a way of life… including you! As Zig Ziglar said: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

Work with passion

The second pillar is the ability to work very hard to achieve the “never reachable perfection”. Robin Sharma talks about 10,000 hours of work over 10 years to one become a master is any area, without quitting, having a better performance every day and always surrounded with others who also want to become better. The “10% of inspiration and 90% of transpiration” rule makes all the difference. So do it! Never quit! Believe in yourself! Believe that you can! And work, work, work… And if you do it with passion, with purpose, with a sense that somehow you are contributing for a better world then you do it with pleasure and happiness. Remember that mastery has nothing to do with genetic. People can unconsciously develop some skills during life, as some aptitudes… But in fact is the hard work that creates and develops the real ones, the ones where energy is always focused. As Tony Robbins said: “Where focus goes energy flows”. Or in another way, using this blog motto: “Success is a ladder than cannot be climbed with your hands in your pocket”.

So put your excellence attitude together with your hard work and you’ll find a tremendous inner force that moves you toward success. Enjoy the journey and live your life purpose and passion. What’s to stop you?