Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Redefining How Government Works

Do you work in government? Are you a leader? Change agent? Are you wondering what's on the horizon when it comes to taking how government works into the next decade and beyond?

The Center for Radical Improvement is holding a retreat to do just that.

To quote Jeffrey Press, the Executive Director of The Center for Radical Improvement in Washington, DC "The only thing holding us back from radically improving our performance is our beliefs about our work and our organizations. Once we have the opportunity to change those beliefs, a whole different world of possibilities become available." to a Coach's ears, especially one who works within government and political organizations.

Generative and interactive conversations will include:
• We don’t make widgets: overcoming the myths that keep government from radically improving performance appraisals: why they backfire and what to do instead
• the ethics of dissent: managing guerilla government
• creating a high performance culture in the public service
• leading program performance by asking the right questions
• using performance information to drive decision making and improve results

If you're serious about morphing how government works and you're a leader who's had enough of what is, come and help create what can be.

Click here to

Don't miss it!

Donna Karlin

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Slowing Down to the Speed of Thought

“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not the only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” -Eddie Cantor

Slowing Down to the Speed of Thought
I recently had a short session with a client where he said “My fundamental weakness is I’m not the type of person to make split second decisions. I need processing time to figure out how I’ll respond to things and what’s happening as a result is I’m getting killed by those wanting an answer and now!”

I turned to him and asked “Why in the world do you look at that aspect of your personality as a weakness? In this context, what you’re doing is helping the other slow down to the speed of conscious thought, therefore making informed decisions rather than jumping into the deep end without a life preserver”. He had never thought of it that way.

So, when you hear the term “buying time”, what is the first thing you think of? Is it more time to do things, see things, to play and shelve work for the time being? Is it “I wish I could clone myself so I could do more” and “I wish I had more time to…”? Truthfully it had nothing whatsoever to do with having more time, saving time or finding time (did you lose it somewhere?) so something else could be slotted into that chunk of time. It’s having extra time….unplanned time, space….nothingness, quiet time, time to just be, to let the thoughts fly in any direction, to think, imagine and explore possibility.When do you have creative time, time to conceptualize, to strategize, to play, learn, and get to know others? Or time to just unwind and relax?

It’s All About Choices
“You can’t do everything you’d like to do. You must hold on to some things and let go of others. Learning to make that choice will be the best lesson you’ll ever learn”
– Donna.

What do you have to let go of? What are you holding on to, figuring you yourself have to do it or you have to finish it, even though it no longer serves you? For most it’s not as hard saying ‘no’ to others as it is giving yourself permission to use that word. How much more could you give others if you freed up time to do what you should be doing? These are hard questions, but important ones to answer.

Donna Karlin

**Note: For experienced coaches, The School of Shadow Coaching™ is holding the next training in Toronto, Ontario March 11th – 12th, 2010.
Click here to register. Class sizes are kept small so register now to ensure your place in the training.

Remember, the gap between where you are and where you want to be is filled by what you choose to do in the time available to you…every conversation, thought, choice and decision, so choose all wisely. - Donna Karlin

Friday, February 12, 2010

Leadership - Defined?

What is a great leader exactly? That is one of the questions consistently tossed about all over the world. I've read books upon books on leadership, write about leadership but is it defined in the true sense of the term or does a leader's unique style define it along the way?

If defining a leader was based on proficiency or criteria, would that align with the individuality of the organization or the people within it? Is it something one can be measured against now or after the fact? Think about it. How many people are considered great leaders the moment they walk into the position? They don't. That is earned after they've achieved success.

A catch 22 perhaps?

Theodore Roosevelt said "The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it."

If you take that quote and take it to mean a person in a position of leadership (who else would be picking their people?) then does it mean someone that gives direction and then backs off?

A constant complaint from clients.....their work is checked and rechecked and half the time discarded. It’s demoralizing to them and deflates their desire to produce. Yet how many leaders do that?

Ralph Marston wrote "Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open. You're able to benefit from the unique viewpoints of others, without being crippled by your own judgment." By doing that, you not only empower those who work with/for you but grow and learn at the same time. Is that a better definition of leadership?

Ask yourself this question....if you lost your title, position and power tomorrow, would others still support you and want to work with you? A difficult question to ask, but an important one at that. It's a question many don't want to be asked because they're afraid of hearing the answer. In this day and age that question is translated into a 360°. You're told in every which way whether or not staff, peers and superiors would follow your lead. But what is done with those 360s afterwards?

I know...many questions. Coaches are great at asking questions for clarification. And as there are many of you out there who are quick as a whip, have insight, opinions, ideas and perspectives I'd love to throw a few questions out at you..

1. How do you define a true leader?
2. Should there be a tool or assessment for a future leader to be measured against before taking on the position?
3. Should peer assessments be done on a regular basis to see if that leaders is measuring up?
4. In some organizations, staff is now choosing their leader. Does that ultimately make a difference in the success or an organization?


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Are You the Best Communicator in the World?

"If you feel shy, nervous, or afraid, you're not crazy, you're not alone, and today
is the day you stop letting ugly communication damage your relationships. Authentic
communication can become as natural as breathing - when you pay attention to a few
essential aspects of what connects people." - Jon Wortmann

We can evolve people through language or we can demolish them. The same applies for relationships, business, personal or even meeting strangers in passing. This is a great manifesto and will get you thinking and asking the question "What do I need to do to be able to express exactly what I'm thinking, feeling, wondering...all of it.

Read on...

Then let me know what you think!

Donna Karlin