Wednesday, October 2, 2013
It’s all been said before
In my field of leadership, team, and employee development, it’s kind of all been said (and often done) before. I totally don’t mind. It’s a good thing I don’t feel the need to invent, or better, re-invent what’s already out there. What a waste of time this would be. I prefer to use and re-use. I prefer to use differently. I prefer to combine the unlikely or the unusual. And I prefer to work hard and smart to find the best possible ways to help people put to practice what we already know, if we were only brave and fear-free enough to acknowledge it.
The only really new findings in my field stem from brain research, which is making great progress and has long ways to go. Apart from that, there is nothing much new, except for finding multiple and better ways to make things stick, to make people believe, to make people believe and think differently, to make people act on their beliefs consistently, and to make people sign-up for candor. Candor with themselves and candor with others.
Today I’m going to stick with just a few examples of what we already know and often neglect to act on. I am happy to honor the people who brought it to our attention (but who were not the first ones either to bring these topics to light).
1. Stephen Covey in The Third Alternative: Where might I have blind spots about myself? What a profound question if you really give it thought and attention. We know so much more about our blind spots than we are willing to admit. They are not really blind spots. It’s called self-deception for all the wrong (and only sometimes right) reasons.
2. Founder and former president of WNBA Val Ackerman: Not everybody wins. Dealing with failure and adversity is what a team sport teaches you. The lesson of how to respond to defeat is one of the most powerful lessons that sports can teach, because not everybody wins. Need I add anything to this? Maybe just this: Not everybody wins!
3. Twin Cities based John Christensen and his 4-point FISH philosophy: Be there, play, make their day, and choose your attitude. This one incorporates emotional intelligence and gestalt psychology principles (being really present in the here-and-now). It also stresses the playful child which stems from Transactional Analysis, as well as the power of attitude and ownership which has been hot for quite some time.
4. Building on the latter - the power of attitude - I wish to, once again, highlight Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response (read: our attitude). In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” I’m sure this needs no needless comment from me.
That’s it. It’s all been said before. Now take it to the next level, the doing level. With conviction, consistency and passion. That’s the hard part.