Disagreement is a fact of life. It is next to impossible to imagine that you will see “eye to eye” with someone else on every single issue. We all see the world with a slightly different perspective. What matters is how you navigate these disagreements. Do you take different opinions as a personal affront? Are you cordial to the other person who sees things differently? How important is it for you to be perceived as always having the right answer (and at what cost)? How open are you to different interpretations of the same set of facts? Are you willing to learn from your mistakes and admit when you are wrong?
Month: May 2011
Most people I know want to create better outcomes in their life. They spend many hours dreaming, thinking, and talking about what a better situation could look like. They are usually confident in their own abilities and feel they measure up favorably against their peers. It’s not unusual to hear them surprised or even offer rationalizations when others they deem less talented or knowledgeable achieve more comparative success. The bottom line is that health, happiness and success are all the result of daily habits and behaviors that over time lead to a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Of course some people are blessed with extraordinary or unusual talent; however they are the exception not the rule.
At what point did healthcare become about the less about what’s best for the patient and more about the business of delivering care and maximizing revenues? It’s easy to blame the insurance companies (and they certainly deserve their share of criticism), but the profit motive is certainly alive and well with healthcare delivery professionals. Patients are overbooked and herded through waiting rooms. We get very little time with the actual doctor/dentist and it often feels like they are seeking the shortest/easiest route to a diagnosis.
Every one of us has a strength or talent we can share. While fundraising is often necessary, volunteering is just as important. Time is a precious resource we all equally share. Just because you may not be able to make a big donation, it doesn’t mean your efforts aren’t needed or appreciated.
Every leader I know wants to be successful. In fact, they can usually articulate the generalities and specifics of what this means pretty easily. However, the majority of these same people spend most of their time simply “surviving”. Why is this? If it’s not a question of awareness, what is getting in our way? The answer is simple: our actions don’t match our thoughts, ideas or goals.
Time is finite for all of us. We can estimate how long we have but estimates often bump into harsh reality. Tomorrow is another day until it is not. Some people get advance warning and have a chance to say goodbye and make peace with their life. Others seem to leave us in an instant with very little or no preparation.
“Pride does goeth before the fall.” It never ceases to amaze me how many people especially leaders can’t admit it when they are wrong. It’s almost as if the sheer fact of admitting their mistakes will make them weak and vulnerable to others. Our last president couldn’t even come up with one mistake when frequently queried about his handling of two major wars. In multiple press conferences you could tell there was an inner struggle going within him and defensiveness about what to say or not say. The press was quite frankly stunned by his lack of a response. I don’t for second believe he didn’t have anything to offer he just couldn’t be seen publicly doing it.
Maybe it’s my age and being more aware of things, but I am convinced there are more egocentric people today than when I was a younger. You meet people like this all the time. Whatever happens is always about them regardless of the situation and its consequences (for others). Sadly, they have been buoyed in their attitudes by a cottage industry of self-help gurus and marketers that continue to reinforce the worldview that everyone should be the center of their own universe and each individual’s primary concern should be their own happiness and self-satisfaction.
It never ceases to amaze me how much a group of people can get accomplished if no one individual cares too much about who gets the credit. However, in most organizations there is far too much wasted energy on “ego” related issues and worrying about the wrong things. And, it often starts at the top of the organization. Maybe it’s because our society has put too much emphasis on fame and celebrity. Everyone wants to be somebody, but they are not quite sure what that means or what it costs or the right way to get there. Consequently, we have become much too concerned with what others are doing and how we stack up against their efforts.
One of the biggest dangers to success is comfort. I see it all the time. On the way up, people have an edge. They push themselves towards goals achievement. Obstacles are seen as inconveniences that simply need to be overcome. Motivation is never an issue. Energy seems boundless. Leadership focus is laser-like and distractions are managed accordingly. Then success happens and it all changes…
It does feel at times that we have become a nation of complainers. People have become very adept at communicating what they don’t like. Whether it is the cost of living, our current political climate, the actions (or lack thereof) of our elected officials, the purported selfish behaviors of big business, the impending doom of multiple environmental and social phenomenon, the undisciplined behavior of our youth and the irresponsible actions of our neighbor, there is always something perceived to be wrong or not working. Leaders have to rise above this level of discourse and actually do something to make a positive difference.
It’s Friday afternoon. The weather is beautiful. Mother’s Day is on Sunday. Life is good. My recommendation is keep it that way. If you are carrying around stress from work – leave it there. Monday will be here soon enough. In business you need to be able to turn it on and turn it off otherwise the pressure will seem never ending. And if you are not careful this becomes a way of life.
We all have something unique about us that makes us special. The Gallup Organization claims that everyone has special talents they can do better than 10,000 other people. The key is to find out what this talent/ability/characteristic is then tap into it. I’ve heard other thought leaders refer to this as your uniqueability. Organizations are no different than people. There is always something special about a high performing business or nonprofit that makes them who they are and good at what they do.
In our very hurried and fast paced world these days it is often very difficult to be “in the moment” of what you are doing at any point and time. Distractions abound as people and responsibilities clamor for your time. There ends up being very few thoughtful focused moments in the course of a day where you can simply concentrate on the person, task or situation at hand.
Today we got the news that Osama Bin laden has been killed and is no longer a personal threat to the world. Justice has been served and hopefully our leaders will be keep forging ahead and doing what is right to protect our country and its allies from senseless violence and terrorism. I’m sure it has been and will continue to be a difficult and frustrating job for those responsible for our homeland security. It’s been a long time since 9/11.