When I work with leaders of non-profits about how to have permanent success and longevity in terms of keeping their boards engaged, I often tell them to keep their board connected to the non-profit’s mission.
Practically, this might mean opening every board meeting with a story of someone your non-profit has recently helped in a meaningful way.
Board meetings tend to be times when people rush in from the busy routines of their lives. They are distracted and juggling many personal and professional obligations.
If your board meeting looks like everything else in their lives, it will become something they believe in but are not engaged in.
Keep your board meetings sprinkled with inspiration so your board members will feel the difference they are making by contributing their valuable time to your cause.
It was obvious from our very first conversation that I was dealing with someone truly authentic. After you work in this profession for a good period of time, you start to get an intuitive sense that can more quickly identify those who are not authentic.
The issue of authenticity came up in our interview, and I made the point that if leaders are not living from the core, real, authentic parts of themselves, even if they are good at what they do, they will burn out. They will stop being truly affective both personally and professionally.
As adults, often becoming authentic is a de-layering process. I wrote my book, Awakening – 12 Tools to Unlock Ultimate Potential, as a guide to this de-layering process. Eliminating everything that is on top of our authentic center takes time and is often really uncomfortable. I am finding that the people who are drawn to doing the work in my book are up for the challenge. Those who criticize the book are often readers who get triggered while reading the first chapter – they know they need to do the work and that it would be uncomfortable, however they start throwing up criticism at the messenger and the material as a smokescreen to avoid going there. They themselves do not even know that is what they are doing.
It is a protective mechanism to avoid the discomfort and to stay in denial. If you are a leader who wants longevity in terms of your vitality and living out your purpose, have the courage to de-layer, take breaks, then de-layer again. Get support as you go through the process. Your physical, emotional and spiritual vitality and long term health depend on it.
They struggle bringing motivational programs and seminars to their schools, especially if there are open forums included in those programs where teachers discuss their stresses with No Child Left Behind. The focus of the forum becomes teachers talking about how difficult it is to teach with all of the requirements associated with it.
Teachers have every right to be completely done with No Child Left Behind and teaching to the test. Many of these fine educators came into the profession with a strong calling and desire to make a difference. What I want to say to those Superintendents is that I hear you. You want to motivate these teachers and you care about them, but you struggle with the can of worms you open when No Child Left Behind becomes such a topic of conversation that is takes over discussions.
Instead of trying certain methods of facilitation or other canned communication methods, (methodologies people will try to teach you that aren’t even in the public school system on a daily basis and don’t really know the world you live in), my suggestion is to simply say to your teachers that you are struggling with how to balance allowing them to talk about how stressful it is, with wanting to turn the conversations back to how, amid teaching to the test and the pressures of raising standardized testing scores, can we still make a big difference in the student’s lives. Tell them you deeply empathize and know they are in difficult positions, but let them know that there will be times you simply have to say “I hear you, and it is time to start talking about how to have positive influences on the students amid a system that is difficult.”
Make it as fun as you can. When they start talking about the stressers and it has gone on too long, bring out some funny stress ball, or a picture of yourself when you first get up in the morning, or a picture of you in a straight jacket (get creative) and pull it out and say “okay troops, here’s where we are… lets pull back to what we ‘can’ do for our students.” Get the teachers to bring in funny pictures about stress you can use in these forums and meetings.
Hope this helps superintendents and teachers out there. Thank you for what you do every day. It is heroic.
I was recently interviewed by Moe Vara, who has a blog talk radio show and is an Anthony Robbins trainer. We both share a passion for providing presentations and seminars that help people produce permanent, rather than temporary empowerment. Most of the time, permanent change takes a long time and is a delayering process, both individually as well as organizationally. He and I talked quite a bit about presentations that entertain but don’t really provide any ‘meat.’ I admire his commitment to providing his clients with what they need for long-term change.
I appreciate and really try to provide dense, practical material that can be applied over a long period of time. That is hard work, and working towards change this way can take years. However, every once in a while, something will come along that is just plain easy. When that happens, I like to pass it along.
When I think of the CEO’s, VP’s, non-profit Presidents, clergy, superintendents, principals and other higher leadership in the organizations I have worked with, one of the easiest ways I tell them to embed the tools I present into their culture is to come up with common language that they are all going to use, over and over again in meetings, on phone calls, when they are coaching employees, when they are making billboards, setting goals, etc. This shows visually and verbally, in front of their employees, that they are putting the tools into practice. An example of common language could be – if the tool was encouraging them to have regular coaching sessions with their employees, they would say in conversations, in meetings, etc., the introductory phrase: “I learned this while I was in a coaching session with one of my customer service employees” or “This came up during the coaching session with one of my managers.”
The more you engage top level leadership in creating and using phrases like this, the better the chances the employees will take the tools seriously and regularly use them.
I have been working with leaders for over 20 years, and while being authentic involves many things, I now believe there are some areas of utmost importance and priority:
1) You must be someone who leads your teams, but also one who occasionally steps out of work mode and appropriately reveals yourself to your employees
2) You are willing to not always be the hero, and you put your foot down and make the hard decisions when needed, even if for a while or maybe even forever – there are those who resent what you did and do not like you
3) You are constantly working on your own issues and looking at your own blocks to personal and professional total fulfillment and happiness
How do you fulfill these things?
1) I think leaders need one or two people by their side that they work with, who they can be totally and completely themselves with – these are the people that see the good, the bad, the light and the dark. These are the people you have total trust in, that you confide in, and that you consider people you are passing your knowledge to every day so they can run things if you need to bow out.
2) Leaders need a small circle of personal relationships that know who they really are and that they can relax and totally be themselves with. Run things by these people before you make decisions or take important actions.
3) Leaders need to consistently be willing to look at themselves and work on their personal and professional problematic issues. This could mean taking seminars, going to therapy, hiring life coaches, reading self-help books, and here’s the most important one…
4) You must be willing to accept honest feedback about what is working and what is not working in your life from people who have your best interests at heart. If you stop receiving regular feedback, you can be stuck and not even know it.
5) When it comes down to what to do, in the end, trust your own intuition and the leading of the God of your understanding. While feedback is valuable, when it comes right down to taking action in a certain area, check in with how you feel and how your insides feel about it. While it won’t happen often, there will be times you need to go in a totally different direction than the feedback you’ve received, or… you need to only accept part of the feedback and go partially in a direction that is your own. As the leader, you ultimately have to go with how you are being led to affect change and lead an organization.
The longer I have been presenting leadership development seminars, the stricter I have become about making sure the organization is ready for true, lasting culture change before I go out and present a 2-day seminar.
When I talk to CEO’s, Superintendents, Presidents of non-profit organizations, Bishops, and those in religious organizations who are planning events for clergy and lay leadership, I make sure that the top leadership will be actively engaged in the classes while I am at their locations, and they will follow up by publicly and privately practicing the tools given after the leadership classes are over.
I have been amazed over the years at how much money a top leader/decision maker will spend on a leadership development initiative, but then they themselves will not even attend the class! I have also been amazed at how difficult it has been to track down those responsible for coordinating the class and get them on a conference call to go through details so the two days will run smoothly.
If you are a top decision maker in your company and you are reading this, my hope is that you will not take offense, but realize that walking the talk is of utmost importance. If your employees see you excited about a leadership development program before it gets there, if they see you in the class, taking notes, moving your normal schedule around so you can be there just like everyone else, and if they see you after the classes truly practicing and speaking the language of the tools presented, you will not only get your money’s worth, but you will empower by example. If you truly want your leadership to shift permanently into motivating and holding their teams accountable for results as a lifestyle, your powerful presence and participation is not an option.
It was Ghandi that said “be the change you want to see in the world…”
I have recently been faced with some decisions where I had to step out and make some things happen, and I did not have a lot of support from certain people from my past. The people who did not support me were not bad people, they just have a lot of fear deep inside and have sabotaged their own success in often subtle ways, over and over again.
They do not see that they are sabotaging their success. They hold beliefs and fears about what they deserve, what they are capable of, and what they can handle. These beliefs and fears are buried deep within them.
In my book, I address and help readers expose and detox these fears and beliefs at a root level, and then give them the tools they need to rebuild an authentic life based on their own truth that often emerges once the old layers of fears and beliefs have been burned off.
If we stop growing and expanding, we stop truly living. Delayer yourself today, and feel the weight of the past lift off so you can create and step into your passion, purpose, and destiny!
I recently met a woman named Mariola Gorska. Despite a huge language barrier, she has stepped up to the plate and started her own internet radio show. My understanding is that she has to put a lot of extra time into preparation because of this language barrier. I applaud the courage it took for her to not only start her own radio show, but start a show that has everything to do with facing one of her biggest weaknesses.
I seem to keep coming across people who have stepped out and taken risks, despite incredible obstacles.
What I have learned about risk taking is that it has very little to do with emotion and whether life feels good, and mostly has to do with moving forward no matter how you feel or what your circumstances look like.
True courage is defined by what you do every day, not by the highs and lows.
Often when we step out, take risks, and begin putting pieces of our dreams out into the world, the people that sabotage our efforts the most are those closest to us.
Waking up to our true selves and living out our deepest dreams and desires can be difficult if those around us have never lived out ‘their’ deepest desires and dreams. They cannot fully support us if they themselves feel unfulfilled and have deep regrets about not living a life they really wanted.
When we speak our vision out to a group of witnesses who support us and we allow them to give us feedback and direction, our desires and dreams can be felt and realized in much deeper and more powerful ways.
I was such a hot shot and know-it-all early in my career. I was not a mean person, but I was trying to be successful. Simply put – being successful took the place of making an impact. If I could turn back the clock, I would do things differently.
The truth is that underneath my need to be successful, I had a belief that I was not worthy. When you believe that you are not worthy, you spend most of your effort trying to feel worthy.
I recently had the most amazing blog talk interview with Tom Cunningham on his Canada talk show. He is a Napolean Hill trainer and exceptionally genuine and gracious. We both talked about how a little age helps with this overdrive to be successful, and we also talked about how our core beliefs affect everyone and everything around us.
I dedicate an entire chapter in my book to Standing in Your Power, and an integral part of that chapter is identifying the core beliefs about yourself and how the world works that can block you from allowing wonderful things into your life.
Be blessed, eliminate the beliefs that do not work for you. Create and step into new beliefs that are authentic to who you are meant to be……..then watch the unfolding of the authentic impact you can have on this planet.