A friend called me yesterday. He was asked to speak to new hires joining a well-regarded company. His task was to give the “newbies” advice regarding making the most of their careers. He asked me what I would tell them and here is my view:
Make sure your work is always at the intersection between what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what the company needs. Being out of balance in one of those will likely conclude poorly.
Live the Character Triangle. With all my heart and soul, I believe that connecting and applying the values of accountability, respect, and abundance will allow you to thrive in your career and life. Driving this framework is a lifelong journey for me.
Define a higher order purpose that arches over whatever you’re doing in your life at any time. Your purpose goes well beyond making a living or having a career. It is the ping you want leave in the universe. Defining that is important. Regardless of a change in job or results, and there will likely be many, the higher purpose guides you.
Character Move: Examine where you are against the three point checklist above. How are you doing? Which could you work on?
“Often when you ask someone who lives in a grass hut to build a mansion; they build a great BIG grass hut.”
In the world we live and compete in we can’t afford to build great big grass huts. At a personal and organization level, we need to open ourselves up to what is possible. This means having the courage and awareness to raise the game by challenging all of our assumptions about creating value. If we allow ourselves to be stagnant or closed to this dynamic environment we will likely be left behind; it’s only a matter of time. This can feel threatening or invigorating. That is a matter of mind set.
What’s your mind set? Are you stuck in a grass hut or are you looking to build beyond the metaphorical limitations of grass and mud.
Character Move: I talked to a leader of a system design company and he introduced me to the concept of responsive design. My challenge to all of us is to learn about the concept of responsive design and think about it’s relevance to us as leaders and individual contributors. It will help us peer out of that grass hut.
Tony Hsieh, the CEO of the super successful online retailer Zappos, recently presented a webinar that I had the pleasure of joining. Tony, who sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 Billion, is focused on building a culture committed to achieving happiness. In fact Tony has a recently published book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profit, Passion, and Purpose.
During the webinar, Tony made a lot of great points. One slide in particular really hit home with people on our team:
People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
People will never forget how you made them feel.
My question to each of us is one of deeply honest reflection: how do we make people feel?
Character Move: let’s make a more conscious effort to think about how we want people to feel after their interactions with us.
Every week I ask my direct reports to let me know specifically who they gave recognition to and why. I expect this from the leaders who work for me.
Gallup states that 20% of the U.S. workforce is disengaged. If you work in an environment where you’re ignored, disengagement rises to 45%. But if a colleague notices a single strength, our disengagement falls to 1%. More importantly I believe it is impossible to fully engage and optimize the skills of others until we are capable of recognizing their strengths.
Character Move: Today …how about right now …write an email, a handwritten note, or personally connect with a colleague, highlighting a strength they have. Do it from the heart; no excuses. Do it now.
Deepak Chopra speaks of the importance of this in the video below.
The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ... Read more about Lorne Rubis
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Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.
What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?
The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:
Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame. Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process. Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.