Monday, May 28, 2007

Unleashing Power and Potential

Recently, I read a passage about leadership that defined it as “The capacity to influence others by unleashing their power and potential.” Those leaders who are charismatic, powerful speakers with energy and passion can quite easily lead an organization to success. The question is, what happens to that organization when the charismatic leader leaves? These individuals are very unique in character and it’s almost impossible to bring in someone who would have the same impact and their distinct nature and way of being is what captivates the staff and you can’t nor would you want to clone him/her. It wouldn’t be possible at any rate.

The key is to look for a leader who creates a vision so powerful that it goes beyond the individual leader; it translates through the entire organization, embraced by all and lived by all. It becomes the organizational culture and transcends any one individual.

Now imagine combining both and how powerful that would be. If I challenged leadership by asking the question “Who have you influenced to unleash their power and potential, helping them evolve into their level of excellence?” Is it something you consciously think of every day when interacting with staff or identifying ‘rising stars’? Are you paying attention? It’s not about you so get over yourself and it, whatever it may be. True leaders transcend the pettiness, the need for constant personal attention. They create a sustaining culture of high involvement and thus shared power.

What is the stickiness of leadership mindset in your organization?

Donna Karlin

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Fixing Things to Move Forward

We tend to be so busy trying to figure things out, look at trends, strategize etc. that we don’t tend to fix problems. What if, instead of analyzing things to death we fixed them? What if we didn’t look at trends and the why’s and how other companies handle similar situations and worked with someone to fix things and now? What a concept! Why make things more complex than they have to be, at least in most day to day situations.

We live in a world that has to be … should be … politically correct, however sometimes we get into more trouble because of all the checks and balances we dance around for every move and decision we make rather than just fixing it.

I believe there’s a place for looking at industry trends and successes, however I also think problems have to be fixed and not studied and sometimes a fast fix is necessary to move an organization forward. If you get so mired in what’s not working and look for reasons and dynamics and everything else, you’ll still have the problem. Sometimes a quick is just the trick and will help remove all the other roadblocks that will stand in your way.

Next time you find yourself stuck, stagnating, with a defeated attitude, look at fixing the problem instead of ruminating about it or studying it. Have a generative meeting not to rehash everything that went wrong, that can be left for the analysts…but one where the rules of the game are to generate a solution and way forward right now. It might mean scrapping something and starting from scratch to look at a perspective you haven’t thought of yet. If you can’t figure it out yourself, call in a coach who will help you. Again, not a long drawn out contract but a one shot, one session meeting, where you don’t leave the room until you know exactly what you’re going to do.

Leave the trends and analysis for the strategists who will make sure the same mistakes won’t happen again in the future. That’s their jobs. Yours as leaders is to lead and get people and organizations past roadblocks and fast, before you’re left in the dust.

Donna Karlin

Friday, May 11, 2007

Clearing Mental Clutter

OK it’s spring and it’s time to do some spring cleaning. I’m not talking about the ‘stuff’ that’s accumulated over winter, though cleaning that out gives a boost to your mental energy as well. I’m talking about clearing out all the thought processes, ways of being, 'programs' you've accumulated over the years that are buggy and no longer serve you.

My colleague used to say “Time to update your personal operating system”. Many laugh at that concept but in truth we have to do that on a regular basis. How we operated and lived our lives 10, 20 years ago no longer applies. The world is quickly changing in every way shape and form. The paradox of our world is that the only constant is change and if you think you can handle it using the same methods and ways of being that you did a decade or two ago, well you’re going to be left in the dust. When that happens, there’s a great deal more inner conflict that arises because you can’t seem to get a grasp on things as easily as you used to. It’s happening because the old ways aren’t necessarily still applicable. That’s not to say you have to totally change everything to a new way. It’s saying you should look at new ways and integrate them into the old to develop a way of working, living, leading that is applicable in this day and age and that will help you stay on top of your world rather than trying to catch up to it.

When that inner conflict raises its ugly head one tends to become stubborn in old ways of being and effective leadership breaks down. That’s because staff will work around you and figure it out because they see you're not able to or want to. Respect for leadership in this instance breaks down as well because they see you’re not current and 'with it' and that you need to be 'always right'.

Think twice before you negate what the young up-and-comings are telling you. They’re not as green as you think. Share your wisdom with them, listen to their innovative ideas and if you combine the two it will be very powerful. So when you think of upgrading your personal operating system, what are you going to replace and what will you keep? Now’s a good time to figure it out. It’s even a better time to do something about it.

What's the first thing you can clear out of your mental clutter that might be holding you back?

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome 102nd subscriber country, Albania! Put your feet up, enjoy your reading and we hope you come back often

Friday, May 04, 2007

The 5 Keys to Mastery

At CAM (Conversation With Masters Conference) I was fortunate enough to spend half a day with George Leonard and the producer of this amazing movie, Dave Lent. The dialogue was rich and interactive and this movie gave us plenty of food for thought and conversation. George continually blows me away and reminds me of why I became a Coach in the first place. This movie just cements it all.

I can't begin to tell you the profound effect The 5 Keys to Mastery had on me. Not only did it illustrate Mastery in all its forms but showed me perspectives I hadn't considered before.

It brings Mastery to every facet of life, profession, learning, and ways of being. I encourage you to buy this DVD and watch it often, as the awarenesses will continue to emerge each and every time you do.

Here is a brief synopsis of this incredible movie and the talented people who bring this to life:

"As a founding father of the Human Potential movement, best-selling author George Leonard (The Ultimate Athlete, Mastery) has spent a lifetime uncovering the elements that allow the “superstars” of our culture to soar. In this extraordinary program, he’s “cracked the code” and reveals five simple steps that will immediately transform your life into the one you were meant to be living.

Leonard is joined by some of the most successful people of our time, who share their intensely personal stories, practices and more. Among them…

• B.B. King: what’s the surprising “flaw” that drives this legendary blues guitarist?

• Eric Kandel: How does this Nobel Laureate enjoy the “sensuality” of discovery?

• Carlos Santana: the Grammy-winning guitarist reveals the simple technique that puts him into an optimal creative flow.

• Launi Meili: the most important training for this Olympic Gold Medalist in Shooting takes place far away from the rifle range.

• Wendy Rieger: the veteran TV journalist and news anchor for NBC4/Washington reveals the “obstacle” she relies on for career momentum.

• Linus Torvalds: the creator and architect of the groundbreaking LINUX computer operating system explains the powerful alchemy of “small picture thinking.”

You’ll also hear from an acclaimed acting coach who’s shaped Oscar-winning performances from Halle Berry and Charlize Theron, a top runway model who’s successfully carved out a career in the ferociously-competitive world of fashion, the first American to win the Olympic Gold in snowboarding, and one of Hollywood’s most recognized character actors (hint: he was a hoot in Groundhog Day). Despite different careers and backgrounds, they all share the same success secrets: the five keys to mastery.

IN THE 5 KEYS TO MASTERY, DISCOVER …• Why concepts like “working harder” is counterproductive. How can working smarter do more for you?

• The power of ignorance: why The Fool can do better than The Smartest Person In the Room.

• Success doesn’t begin on paper, a whiteboard or a spreadsheet. Discover your secret stash of unlimited potential.

• A new definition of “risk” that doesn’t involve fear, sweaty palms, or sleepless nights.

• The most magical trait you need to reach BEYOND your dreams.

In this enlightening, inspiring, and practical program, see why super achievement isn’t something granted only to a few “special” people. Success and a purpose-filled life are part of our DNA, just waiting to be unlocked…. with the Keys to Mastery."

Let me know what you think

Donna Karlin

*Note: Welcome subscriber from 101th country...Latvia. Welcome to our global community of readers!

StandUp For Kids

This past week I was invited to be a part of Conversations With Masters; dialogue with Master Coaches from all over the world who are renowned in their mastery in their areas of expertise. To say it blew me away is an understatement and you’ll hear more about this as the weeks go by. We spoke about mastery, development, practice in our craft and about every facet of every kind of coaching imaginable. Spending a morning in conversation with George Leonard was a gift beyond measure. And although every moment of the three days brought me insight and growth in my field, day three hit a chord that resonated through every aspect of my being….at the launch of The Coach Initiative. Being a part of this initiative is one of the examples as to why I became a coach in the first place.

The mission is “To be the central gathering point where professional Coaches can volunteer their experience and expertise in support of global projects that focus on the betterment of the human condition and uplifting the human spirit. The Coach Initiative holds the value that professional Coaching has the ability to increase both personal and professional effectiveness, contentment and success of committed clients ("coachees").

The Coach Initiative stands for the fundamental belief that every professional Coach holds the intention to positively change the world one person at a time, and that by doing so in unison with their colleagues, can effectuate that change at an exponential rate.“

Within the umbrella of Virgin Unite we will work to support their initiatives. We heard from the founder of StandUp for Kids, Rick Koca who, spoke to us from the heart, from a place where passion resides…passion and anger that kids have to end up living on the street because to them it’s better than what they had to live with in their homes. We heard statistics that were shocking that spoke of a way of life, or ‘no life’ as Rick says, that is just plain unacceptable. It mobilized us to take part in whatever way we could in whatever country we were in. How could we not do something when our purpose is 'to better the human condition and uplift the human spirit’? How much worse could any condition be especially for children, not to mention a defeated spirit?

I had no idea this was happening. My first question was “Why didn’t I know about this?” when I heard the horrible statistics of children in the streets. Well now that I do, I can’t sit back and do nothing. Can you?

I challenge you do something…whatever is in your power to do, one kid or one organization at a time. Spread the word throughout the world. Tell others what’s happening right under their noses in their cities. If nothing else, go to the website and click on a link that won’t cost you anything so American Eagle will donate clothing to homeless teens. All you have to do is tell two people (at least) and ask them to tell two and so on so we can reduce those daunting statistics. Yes, you can wait for someone else to jump in. That’ll mean there will be one less person fighting the odds. And we all know how much of a difference one person can make in this world. You don’t have to be a coach to change someone’s life.

If you do do something, then please come back and share what you did with us. We will applaud you from afar and it’ll give us the impetus to get out there and keep doing whatever we’re doing. The energy will grow as the word spreads. We can change the world one person at a time.

Donna Karlin

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

We Hit 100!

This is going to be a short post but a very powerful one for me. I'll write more when I return from the first inaugural Conversation Among Masters conference in Monterey as there's a lot to share, but for now, a milestone for Perspectives. We now have subscribers from 100 countries and territories. Welcome new subscriber from Sudan! Hope you visit often and share thoughts and ideas with us for a long time to come.

WOW! What a community we've created here. It's humbling, gratifying and if you would have asked me in May 2003 when this began if my readers would come from so many places around the globe, well it never entered my mind. And now it's blowing it away!

Best to you all...
Donna Karlin