Saturday, March 06, 2010

Basic Understanding of Our 'Personal Operating System'

Is it time to pay attention to your 'personal operating system' and perhaps upgrade it if it's buggy? What ARE you thinking?

While I was waiting for my client in a busy area of her organization, I reflected on some of the observations I was making with regards to conversations going on, emotional triggers, wondering at behavioral drivers, automatic responses, levels of disinterest and stated perceptions. People are fascinating. It's extraordinary to observe and coach leaders in action. The learning curve for me when it comes to behavioral drivers and organizational chemistry is huge. Listening to some of the staffers in conversation boggled my mind.

So as I sat there, watched and listened, I wondered why some people didn't care if they learned anything new ever again and yet wondered why they were so unhappy. As I listened to someone share tidbits of her vacation with a colleague I heard the response "One day I want to..." and all her energy went into the 'one day' but not the "how can I make it happen?" I wondered at a group of people stopping at the foot of an escalator, seeing another group approach and not move. What good could ever come of that? They only moved when they were about to be run over. Can we draw that analogy to life? Doing things when it's necessary and not a moment before, taking care of our health when the doctor or circumstance gives us a life or death warning.

I listened to a discussion about winning vs. losing. I always wondered about how some people think there can be a win-lose (I'm not talking about a competition here). There's win-win and lose-lose and when someone thinks they won and someone else lost, then it's definitely a lose-lose. They might not see it at the moment but it becomes evident over time. I watched a couple of people being bullied openly. I wonder how someone at a high level of leadership can think there's anything acceptable about bullying others. There isn't. Ever.

Then I listened to some state how bored they are. How can anyone find this world a boring place when there is more to learn than anyone can in ten lifetimes?

And then, as my client approached, I listened to someone speak to her in double talk with nothing of substance, no position, no stated objective but just trying to placate my client and thought of a wonderful quote that was shared with me a while back. "What takes real effort (and in final analysis is most rewarding) is making a stand and then living up to it." - Elliott Powell, Assistant Director, National Business Center, Department of the Interior.

That says it all. It goes for us, towards others and for those we impact whether or not we're aware of what that impact is. It's time for us all to figure out how to upgrade our personal operating system. What's out of date and buggy and has to be replaced? If you're leading at any level, remember your attitude is contagious. How deeply you're trusted is contagious as well and will be shared throughout the organization. People don't want to hear "yes" all the time. They want the truth, and to know what's possible, what's do-able and how they can contribute to the overall success of the organization. They want to know someone is watching their backs, to be able to set personal boundaries and to know they are supported to excel. Oh yes...definitely the most rewarding, don't you think?