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Leading with Music presents: Journey

Imagine you are living the rock star dream. Your first 3 albums go Platinum – something even the Beatles never did. You play one of the most talked about sets at Woodstock, and you are all barely out of your 20’s. And then… the leader, who the band is named after, decides to go into avant grade JAZZ – not even the same branch of music?  What do you do?

Change is exhaustingContinuous Change would then be constant exhaustion. So why would anyone actively choose to engage this as a stance for their life – work or personal? If we have learned something from the last few years, it is that Change is in fact, always happening, and either we get good at it, or we are constantly the victim of it. And it is likely to happen when we least expect, as with the group that I left in the middle of their arc last fall.

… I have always been a glass half full person – and we could go into why that might be, but for now, if you read these and know me, you know that reframing things comes second nature. Phrases like “What could possibly go wrong”, or “It’s All Good” flow out in ways that are rarely helpful 😉 The pain and fear in those I work with is real, and I have at least developed a much deeper understanding of what that looks like, and a few ideas on how to engage with the opposite of fear: Courage, or a corporate word, Confidence.  So go on a Journey of Continuous Change.. and it’s critical companion, Courage.

engaging with Continuous Change?

engaging with Continuous Change?

Change is exhausting. Continuous Change would then be constant exhaustion. So why would anyone actively choose to engage this as a stance for their life – work or personal? If we have learned something from the last 2 years it is that Change is in fact always happening, and either we get good at it, or we are constantly the victim of it

managing Continuous Change…

managing Continuous Change…

“Why do I have to Change… AGAIN?” It is one of my most often asked questions — usually as I wrote about yesterday, in a raised tone of voice. The less polite version is clearer — “THEY should Change!!!” Yes… and “They” are not in this conversation… you are. You asked for this. Or didn’t, but either way, here we are again, managing Change… and the impossible nature of that work. In a workshop early in my Coaching career, a man said he can cure migraine headaches.

Continuously Changing partners?

Continuously Changing partners?

Today I am hosting one of the final workshops for a group of brave souls who are piloting the Designing Your Life material that I prototyped on myself for the last year. They have all discovered the magic needed to sustain Change, particularly Continuously: partners. I would love to claim it is the material, and even my excellent leadership – but you all know me 😉 There is something about realizing that you are not alone…

Continuously observing Change…

Continuously observing Change…

God is in fact a comedian. If you don’t believe me, then why would he put me into a “natural” career path where my most Continuously uttered phrase is “Slow Down”? Never a core competency of mine, it is the stance that I try to help others with … as they whiz past something important that they have said, or missed an implication of not observing what they actually know – versus what they want to be true. They are interested in Change – sure – but often miss the signposts on their Journey that make change both possible, and positive…

Continuously wondering about Change?

Continuously wondering about Change?

If you study people, you quickly recognize that putting them together into groups and teams is… complex 😉 And if you wonder why I love studying musical groups, you can see how simply adding one new person completely changes things. In the research around Teams, the highest performing have been together for more than 2 years… but less than 5. Balancing Change and Continuous is something that is worth wondering about…

executing Change Continuously…

executing Change Continuously…

So what the heck is a Change Agent anyway? I didn’t see that career path in the College Catalog, but there are sure a lot of people out there with that title on their business cards. You’ve seen them, I am sure – in conference rooms, and in my generation, nice looking suits/pantsuits, expensive briefcases, and a stack of forms and “best practices” that they are bringing to your neighborhood to “help” you. And they always have an execution plan – timelines, milestones, and something called “deliverables” that they are going to “help” you develop. Yeah – like I actually have time to execute anything else… other than them 😉

renewing Continuously for a Change…

renewing Continuously for a Change…

“If your employees need their weekends to rest and renew, you might have a burnout culture.” I saw that headline … and the only edit I would suggest is to remove the word “might”. There are articles almost every day about it, and many leaders I work with are moving between roles to get away from it, believing that is caused by their situation. Sadly, it travels with them, and the dirty secret is the person who is most responsible for burnout is… you. I know – because it was (and is) me…

engaging with Courage

engaging with Courage

“Don’t be a Fred”. By now we are used to the different Southern Virginia dialect, so when our minister was reading one of the most prominent phrases in the Bible, we knew what he meant. Sorta. “Fear NOT” is one of those phrases that is like everything I do now – Simple, but not Easy. In the face of Continuous Change, most of which may NOT be of our own making, how do we engage Courage over Fear? I can’t solve this, but I believe it is something worth engaging in…

Courage to manage

Courage to manage

The Bermuda Triangle of my corporate experiences are: Pain, Change, and Courage. You might wonder why I chose Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin as the soundtrack of this post, and to be very clear, unlike others managers in the corporate world, those were never done by me 😉 But leveraging the principles of understanding what people really need and want from their workplace helped me manage and navigate between all of these elements. So what best practices have I experienced?

The Courage to partner

The Courage to partner

If anyone tells you there is only one way to do something, they are lying or very misinformed. And it is particularly true in IT systems – both being told there is only one way, and that not being true. Our current predicament was caused by an IT person who was disgruntled with the way systems were being built, and left the org to build systems “in the business” – otherwise known as “without oversight”. And because he built them quicker and also knew more about the underlying business, the business used his group more and more. Now – those systems had to be replaced and completely re-implemented by “our” official IT group… and I had to be his partner…

observing Courage

observing Courage

It was 5 pm, and we were all lining up to go into the everyday “Evening Status Meeting” on the top floor of Pho IV, the newest building in our complex, and the heart of all of our work. I rarely left the building during the day, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner catered in so we didn’t take time away from the “work”. These meetings were twice a day – morning and evening – but the evenings are always brutal. As the “service” organization, the IT team was brought in nightly to be drawn and quartered by the SVP’s of the business, on “why haven’t you”…

wonderful Courage

wonderful Courage

“I know that we have the right team to pull this off!” said our VP from the front of the packed room. Giving us encouragement was one of the wonders of this particular leader’s talents, and what had got us all together. And, the wonder now was that this speech was exactly the same we had heard about a year before… and wasn’t working. Now it sounded more like pleading… and the feeling in the room was different – more desperation, and less belief we could actually do this…

executing Couragously…

executing Couragously…

I landed the role I am writing about this week late in 2002 with some luck during the opposite of what we are seeing now. An economic downturn after 2001 had frozen hiring, depressed salaries, and I felt fortunate to get anything, even this now meat-grinder role. The Courage to think about doing something else was tied up in one of the hardest issues to confront – money. Do we have enough, will we have enough, particularly with kids just heading into College. And yet, I knew that this was going to slowly kill me if I stayed…

renewing Courage

renewing Courage

A well-orchestrated job search, as 100’s of leaders I have worked with over many years say, ends with 2 outside offers, and one inside offer. It then takes Courage to choose between them, and also a lot of faith that you have done the best you can, and look forward with that same Courage. It all sounds very clean and tidy, which might lead you to wonder why I was in the building on a Saturday morning early, loading up most of my “stuff” with my wife … and slinking out of the garage…