The question "Do you want to get better?" is, of course, a rhetorical one. After all, who doesn't want to? But what most overlook is that to get better in a sustainable way, you need a system.
That's exactly why, when it comes to certain things, after a short learning curve at the beginning, our skills keep us on a plateau from which we hardly improve.
What we need to improve continuously and significantly is what psychology professor Anders Ericsson describes in his book Peak as "deliberate practice."
Here, however, I am concerned with something that lies even before that. Because the reason why we don't really peak, even if it would be absolutely beneficial for us, lies elsewhere. If you are aware of that, you can deal with it accordingly.
I think you'll agree: Effective communication is one of the pillars of successful leadership. Because it is through communication that we exert influence and convince others - both are foundations of good leadership.
If that's the case, then I keep asking myself why so much goes wrong in communication. Why is so much communication in organizations ineffective, if not directly counterproductive?
The consequences are tremendous: things are not implemented because of poor communication, misunderstandings arise and enormous reactive power is generated - through unnecessary queries and so on.
The topic is of course complex - and often it is worth working with a coach to improve communication in the long term.
Everyone knows this from sports: if you want to improve substantially, you also need to weed out certain mistakes and unfavorable habits. Often, this process is very unpleasant because we have become accustomed to the flaws, so we feel comfortable with them.
The same is true in leadership: if you want to continue to improve your leadership quality, you also need to weed out those ways of thinking, behaving and working that are holding you back.
Over the course of my career - also as a leadership and team coach - I've worked with hundreds of leaders and naturally discovered certain universal patterns that distinguish outstanding from mediocre leadership.
Let's cut to the chase: with a mediocre team, you can achieve mediocre results at best. More importantly, you run the risk of becoming progressively obsolete, if only because there will always be teams that perform better than yours.
I define a top team (or winning team) as one that consistently delivers top results and has fun doing it. So, it's not about running on the afterburner, but - on the contrary - full energy for team success, based on high inspiration and fun.
And, it's not just about teams in the narrower sense, but sometimes about entire companies.
When I look around, I see most teams in companies running at half power at most. And most of them are not even fully committed and enjoying their work.
On the contrary, those teams that are top performers are much more attractive to talent and display positive energy.
When coaching top leaders, after a while, we invariably come to the question of what the most important tasks of a leader are in the first place. The answer is surprisingly simple, but known by almost no one.
And honestly, it took me several years of practice, various books and other study sources to crystallize these tasks. In hindsight, then, everything seems simple.
Why is this insight important at all? Well, quite simply, because your time consumption should roughly correspond to the importance of your tasks. In other words, the most important task for you as a leader should also be allocated a high proportion of your attention, energy and time.
It actually sounds quite simple, and yet even top leaders, including CEOs, very often act contrary to this rule. The most common mistake is a high share of time being allocated to direct leadership and operational issues (including urgent problem solving). And these two subjects are exactly not the most important ones when it comes...
One of the most powerful concepts in psychology and leadership is that we always behave according to our identity. "Identity" here means the very person we believe ourselves to be.
Sounds complicated? Well, it's quite simple if we explain it with examples: If you give yourself the identity of being a trusting person, you will deal with other people differently than if you have the conviction that others are to be distrusted first, before they have earned your trust.
Or: If your identity is also defined by the fact that you want to live in security and prosperity, you will deal with money quite differently than someone who focuses on risk and variety.
Two things are important here: Your identity determines your success much more than your abilities. And second, you can reshape your identity at any time. You are responsible for it.
And one more thing: teams and companies also have a self-imposed identity that they behave according to. This is extremely important if you want to take...
You can twist and turn it however you like: Any real change will cause resistance.
Or vice versa: If the change you are aiming for does not cause any resistance, it is probably not a real change (but a minor adjustment at best).
Every strategy implementation requires change in the form of significant alterations of processes as well as work on the corporate or team culture.
If too many people don't buy into the transformation you're trying to achieve, it's like they're standing on the brakes while you and others are stepping on the gas at the same time. The result is smoke, fire and collapse of acceleration.
In other words: the topic is extremely relevant, and that's why I'm always asked by leaders, "How can I overcome the resistance of my people?"
There are insights in leadership and success science that are not devalued by the fact that they are sometimes overused. On the contrary, these levers of success remain true and effective, no matter how often they are applied.
"Empowerment" is one of them, as is "vision." Today, we're talking about the latter. Vision is your clear picture of the ideal future you want to create.
The longer I coach top leaders and support teams on their path to top performance, the more I see the importance of a clear vision. Often, however, it is completely missing or designed in a way that defeats its purpose.
Every week I send out an issue of the Friday Noon Memo to ambitious people - and I've been doing it for 600 weeks!
That's an impressive number. And it confirms one of my principles for success: Consistency and follow-through are an essential foundation for success.
Here are three of the memos from the past years. Enjoy reading, watching and applying!
One of the thought models I use with leadership teams is the typical business development curve between the two dimensions “Enthusiasm” and “Perfection”. The typical life cycle of any business starts out with high enthusiasm and high imperfection of anything they do. Read more
Do you feel like being among friends at work? Otherwise success potentials will be neglected! Read more
Most people never look beyond their own beliefs and experiences. Here are three ideas about what you can do for you and your team to...
Some ask me how I manage to help teams and individuals advance in both leadership and sales. "Aren't those two very different subjects?"
The answer: no, these two areas are very similar. And the longer I spend working on them, the more similar they become.
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