At the end of October, I returned to my alma mater, Earlham College, for homecoming festivities, Alumni Council meetings, and related events. What really struck me about the extended weekend was how the theme of “connections” was constantly evident.
I am constantly looking for new leadership lessons. When I am a student or trainee, I observe how the instructor structures the class, presents information, and keeps the room engaged. As a sports fan, I pay attention to how a coach organizes the team, creates energy toward a shared goal, and adapts to change. Over the last year, I have had one of the richest opportunities as my wife and I began raising our first child, Winnie, who recently turned one.
What did I do and learn? What do I plan to do?
My reflection is around a change in behavior and stretching out of my comfort zone. Feedback is truly the gift that keeps giving. I was given an opportunity to apply what I had learned shortly after MOR Session 1 (ready or not). This opportunity presented itself the day after I returned to the office in fact! Thankfully I was better focused, refreshed and better prepared with new ideas and self-prompted different ways of thinking that allowed me to respond in a different way than I normally would.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus, Greek philosopher, ~ 100 AD
A Leadership Reflection
Last week I attended two retirement parties. As I reflected about them afterwards, there were a few key points that they made during their speeches that I would like to share with the group.
Trust is so important. Establishing an environment of trust-based relationships encourages creativity, self initiative, and incredible productivity fostered by a safe culture without fear or politics. When you trust, you are motivated by a desire to help others and advance the cause without imposing your own agenda.
In previous Tuesday Readings we have focused on the importance of planning, on being intentional about how we use our time, and on the importance of regularly moving items from our one To Do list to our calendar.
In a recent essay, “Beyond Bias,” which is today’s Tuesday Reading, Heidi Grant Halvorson and David Rock wrote:
“Biases are nonconscious drivers – cognitive quirks – that influence how people see the world. They appear to be universal in most of humanity, perhaps hardwired into the brain as part of our genetic or cultural heritage, and they can exert their influence outside conscious awareness. You cannot go shopping, enter a conversation, or make a decision without your biases kicking in.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, traditionally a day of giving thanks for the harvest (that provides our food) and for the preceding year. History and tradition suggest that this celebration goes back in the United States at least to a 1621 feast in the Plymouth Colony celebrating a good harvest in the Colony’s first year. This tradition, with both civil and religious roots, has continued and since 1941 has been celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November.