Key Point: Shame is the feeling that “I AM wrong, there’s something deficient in me and I am just not good enough.” It is the FEAR of disconnection. Shame is not like guilt, which is “I did something wrong.” And shame is not like embarrassment, which is “I have done something silly.” Furthermore, perfectionism is often one’s attempt to avoid the feelings of shame. So, when a person is a perfectionist, that person is carrying the voice of shame, which tells them that they ARE wrong and not good enough. Social scientist and author Brene Brown’s research on the issue of shame is very powerful and deserves much more attention. People don’t talk much about it. She makes an important point. When we are embarrassed or guilty we can often acknowledge and talk about it. There is something to report on and since it is behavior, we can address it and change it. But when we FEEL shame, we do not discuss it because there is nothing to discuss. We accept it as a given and it eats away at our insides. If I make a mistake and focus on my behavior and describe it as stupid, I can change that “stupid” behavior. But if I define ME as being “stupid,” then there is nothing to discuss… I’m just “stupid’ and ashamed. This leads to self talk in the mirror like, ”I’m just not good enough,” “you are an idiot,” “you are undesirable,” ”you are just not good enough and never will be,” “why would anyone love someone as unworthy as me?” Ouch.
Learning how to become more self-accepting, vulnerable and authentic is hard work. It involves self-awareness, and takes practice. It also takes courage and vulnerability. Here is a segment from one of Brown’s blogs:
“Shame resilience is key to embracing our vulnerability. We can’t let ourselves be seen if we’re terrified by what people might think. Often ‘not being good at vulnerability’ means that we’re damn good at shame. ‘We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.”
Key Point: One of the best principles I’ve ever learned is the following: Everything is a process and a process is everything. Anyone who understands this principle appreciates that process and personal judgment go hand in hand. Process is never intended to be mind-numbing bureaucracy. Actually a checklist is usually a reliable method and best-known way of doing something. It is a good thing. One would think that this principle would be comprehensively endorsed and adopted by ALL industries, especially medical practitioners. Apparently this is not the case. Dr. Atul Gawande‘s book and New York Times best seller, The Checklist Manifesto, is about process and checklists. Gawande, a surgeon and author, notes that 93 percent of physicians surveyed wanted checklists used if they were on the operating table, while 20 percent question their value when operating themselves. What’s surprising to me is that process control, according to a number of studies, appears to be at the clinician’s discretion. Yikes… This is like every commercial pilot having their own take off approach protocol, or none at all. I don’t know about you, but I like to see those pilots going through their standard, industry defined safety checks as I board a plane. It actually matters to all on the plane if we take off and land safely.
One of the most distressing points the book makes is regarding simple hand washing. Almost two hundred years after it was statistically proven that hand washing saves countless lives, clinicians are still struggling with compliance (in fact, a May 2010 study indicates that clinicians complied with hand washing guidelines less than half of the time). According to Gawande, this lack of discipline extends into the Operating Room, where he describes complex tasks that must be highly choreographed between many professionals in order to produce positive outcomes that have no script or checkpoints. Geez… If I ever need an operation, I’m going to pin an infection prevention checklist to my chest!
Why do people in most organizations that don’t have strict regulatory guidelines, resist the discipline of checklists? Well apparently part of the reason is the role of our “ego.” We apparently don’t need checklists but others do. My view is that this arrogance can get us in serious trouble regardless of what work we do. Another barrier to checklist application is inertia. It is simply easier to not follow a protocol.
What do you do that requires or would greatly benefit from a checklist and/or reliable process? What do you do to ensure consistent attention to following and improving on these? Be self-accountable and define them.
Does your ego or inertia get in the way of applying and/or inviting others to help you apply these checklists? Processes? Why? What will you do about it? Be respectful and listen to others. Be open to feedback regarding reliable methods you govern.
Do you recognize that a checklist/process/standard method actually can lead to more creativity and mastery? If not you might benefit from exploring this paradox further.
Key Point: We ALL care about Thanksgiving. I’m both an American and Canadian citizen and as you likely know, both countries have a Thanksgiving holiday. And while both dates provide a moment to celebrate and give thanks, they are both remarkably different AND similar. My observation is that for Americans it is a pause for reflection and chance to take a deep breath (for many, four days off work). It is also the gateway to the holiday season. In some ways Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a “bigger” event than Christmas. Because the Canadian holiday is a long weekend in October, the pause is shorter and the connection to the Christmas season is distant. The common ingredient to both holidays and countries however, are reflections of gratitude, family, friends, food and football. Yet I think the best ingredient in the beautiful recipe of Thanksgiving is that it is spiritual but not necessarily religious. We ALL get to fully participate regardless of faith, race, or position in life. It is not exclusive to Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, or any others. Thanksgiving is essentially free, unburdened by material expectations or faith obligations. It is simply a moment to say thank you to each other, our selves, and to our own Divine.
Simply, be grateful. Having the breath to do so and the freedom to celebrate is a great place to start. Remember to say a genuine thank you to yourself… Forgive yourself, accept and cherish your humanity.
Thanksgiving in The Triangle,
P.S. every Thanksgiving our family tries to watch the funny and touching comedy movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The unlikely combo of Steve Martin and John Candy’s characters struggle to get home for Thanksgiving. Through a riotous and unlikely adventure they find the real spirit of Thanksgiving. Give yourself the gift of watching it… In my case, for the 20th time, and I promise a smile will cross your cranium. Happy Thanksgiving!
Key Point: Attribute talent wins! One of the common questions I get from people at all levels in organizations is, “When will all the chaos stop? When will we get past all the change going on?” My response is, “NEVER.” Some days or months may be less or more hectic than others but the whirlwind will not stop or slow down. I actually believe that turbulence will increase. The reasons? We will experience even more of the following: Intense global competition, constant technology revolution, rapid innovation, and unpredictable geopolitical turbulence. A business model or revenue stream… Even an organization… Can disappear in a breathtaking few months. No value – no money – no work. Literally nothing is certain, except “death and taxes” as the old saying goes.
So here is an assumption about people and work I deeply believe in: The competition for top talent will become more ATTRIBUTE intense than ever. I do expect to hire very smart people who are exceptionally proficient in performing certain skills. But a great formal education is table stakes to just get in the talent competition pool. However if I can hire a hungry, self-accountable, respectful, abundant thinking individual who is capable of connecting, translating, collaborating and creating… WE THRIVE and SUCCEED in a sustainable way! Why? People with these attributes realize THEY are the key to defining and contributing to success. They are mega collaborators. They do not depend on somebody leading “change” because improvement, growth, and personal change management is built into their mindset. This type of talent is happy to be engaged AND engaged to be happy! They expect to navigate through tough challenges and even seek out that kind of environment. Agility helps define who they are. They are content and yet realize good is the enemy of great. And the better lead the organization, the greater leverage and value results from this attribute talent.
When you think about how much you’re improving, think about describing it in terms of attributes along with numeric results. The good news is that the distinguishing variables to find these desired attributes are not necessarily resident in any particular age, gender, IQ, size, shape, GPA, University, country, or region. They are evident through results and behavior.
Self-evaluate and build a development plan on the following attributes: A. Self-accountability, B. Respect, C. Abundance, D. Hunger, E. Connector, F. Creator, G, Translator, H. Catalyst, I. Collaborator. These are not necessarily ALL of the right attributes but they are a great list to work from.
If you were asked to provide a story as evidence of how you have displayed each of these attributes and achieved results that have had an impact and inspired others, how would you do? If you haven’t been asked to do so, expect that you might in the very near future.
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.