This is the second article about MBS.works – The Year of Living Brilliantly that contains the next 17 lessons of the program. Just like in the first one, I added my notes for each session, plus references to learn more about the person who is talking about that topic.
18. How to Start Your Day
Neil shares with us the idea to have a notebook and write down one thing you want to get done every day. And at the end of the day check if you managed to finish that thing. Also use the same notebook to write 5 tiny specific things that you are grateful for, plus 5 things that make you angry and anxious.
He recommends us a two-minute exercise called “Two-minute Mornings” and it is about starting your day by asking yourself 3 questions:
- I will let go of. This is the anxiety thing.
- I am grateful for. These are the few little things I can be happy about, specific gratitudes from my day.
- I will focus on. Remember that’s how my cue card started first. It was just one thing I was going to do every day.
19. How to Notice Your Advice Monster
Notice when you get triggered by the environment to give advice and be aware of your feelings, behavior, non-verbal. When you notice that you are tense and you are prepared to give advice, work to moderate yourself. Moderate your gestures and focus on listening to the person in front of you and asking helpful questions. interlace your fingers, place them over your navel, stand up straight, tilting your head to one side, have a gentle smile, and listen. Try to have this posture every time you feel the need to give advice and it is not the case.
20. How to See Other Perspectives
Stop, breathe and listen.
The research shows that diverse teams, teams of people with different backgrounds and perspectives, teams that have men and women, so gender diversity, teams that have racial diversity, are more effective at solving problems.
When you get a different perspective than yours for sure it is not comfortable but you should stop, breathe and listen. Try to understand if that perspective will lead to wiser, richer, fuller decision-making.
21. How to Discover the Rules
Be curious about the rules of your life. Great leaders have no rules. It is not about being a rebel, it is about having as few rules as possible.
You want a few rules because it will allow you to make your choice. Work to understand why some rules exist, be curious about them, have conversations about them with your team, and see if they are still relevant.
22. How to Allow Innovation to Blossom
Dr. Simone Bhan Ahuja talks about how to support more innovation by becoming a learning organization, and doing this by encouraging humility, empathy, and curiosity.
The foundation of innovation is learning about your customers, about their needs, about what’s working and what’s not, having to know all the answers is going to make the possibility of meaningful innovation take a dive.
There are 3 steps that could be followed to build a learning organization and more innovation:
- Making learning a priority
- When in doubt test it out
- Measure the new ROI, return on intelligence.
23. How to Have an Idea that Works
There are 2 worlds inside of an organization: managing the existing and inventing the new and as a leader, you should be aware of them to apply the right mechanisms.
Managing existing is about predictability.
When you create something new, what is hard is to get that idea and create value for your organization and customers through it. Test your idea as soon as possible and make sure you do not apply the rules available for managing existing work.
24. How to Be Grateful
Darryl Slim => You can learn more about Darryl and his work by visiting darrylslim.com
Touch and listen.
The core of his teaching is “listen and touch” to our hearts. He calls the heart the natural spring water.
25. How to Be Empathetic
Empathy comes in three forms:
- Cognitive empathy (head) – Where’s their headspace? How are they thinking about that?
- Emotional empathy (heart) – How are they feeling?
- Sympathetic empathy (hands) – you can sympathize with them and then take action. “Hey, is there anything I can do to take that off your plate?”
26. How to Understand the Context
When people complain about some things or try to describe a situation a good question to understand the context of the situation is “What’s a time that happened, recently?”
If you try to understand, to coach them, it is important to understand the context to know how to lead the conversation and if it is the case to offer the right possibilities or ideas.
27. How to Be More Influential
How you can grow your influence by positioning yourself as an expert:
- Willing to share your ideas publicly:
- Speak up more in meetings and make sure that people know what you’re thinking, what’s on your mind
- Do a lunch-and-learn and share those experiences so that others can benefit from them
- Stepping up and raising your hand and volunteering to speak at a conference or a convention
- Social proof:
- Volunteer as a leader in your local professional association
- Volunteer as a committee on cross-departmental initiative
- Be part of alumni associations
- Your network:
- Can you even just once a week, have a coffee, have a phone call, have lunch with someone who is outside your company or outside of your industry?
28. How to Know Exactly What to Say
The person in control of every conversation is the one who’s asking the questions. Questions create conversations, conversations lead to relationships, relationships create opportunities, and only opportunities lead to action.
Think about the regular questions that are asked of you, plan your words out ahead of time, respond to those questions with questions that create more clarity. With clarity comes certainty, with certainty comes growth.
29. How to Say No
We don’t like to say no because we want to help people. Being able to say no in the right way and in an intentional way can be precisely what’s needed for us to be able to help others. How to do that:
- Respond with “not yet” – it is important, but I will help you later when I will have the necessary time to bring the best from that situation/task/activity
- “Can I bring someone else along?” or “Can I bring someone else, can I do it with someone else?”
- “I may not be the best person for this because the expertise you’re looking for, I’m not the best fit for that, but let me recommend someone who’ll be a perfect fit”.
30. How to be a Host
Marshall Goldsmith shares that his coaching process is about teaching and connecting people with similar responsibilities. He allows his clients to help each other, to be empathetic, and share knowledge and ideas in a safe environment. He facilitates all of these.
31. How to Scale
Fiona talks about the fundamentals of leadership for founders so that you can take your idea to scale and not burn out in the process.
When you feel overwhelmed about the things you should do, remember to ask yourself: “What’s most important now?”. This question will help you to prioritize your work and will keep you focused.
Your goal is to ensure that you’re leading yourself from the very beginning with compassion and honesty and self-care.
32. How to Forgive
Forgiveness and reconciliation are essential for creating cultures because they build safer, braver, and more peaceful organizations.
Forgiveness needs to be practiced in combination with accountability, governance, transparency, with truth-telling. Forgiveness always has to be intentional, it always has to be voluntary, and it always has to be a deliberate decision that we make. Forgiveness is really about individual healing.
Reconciliation is about restoring relationships. Reconciliation is the social process to acknowledge the past hurts and suffering.
Forgiveness is possible without reconciliation, but reconciliation is not possible without forgiveness. We have to do both. Forgiveness is that individual healing and reconciliation is that social healing that has to happen before you can move on.
33. How to Access Curiosity
Good leaders should ask questions and not give answers. The art of asking questions is an important skill of a leader.
How to build your own set of back pocket questions:
- Brainstorm your favorite questions:
- Write down five of your favorite questions that you tend to use when you want to engage people in solving problems, think through challenges, tap into new thinking and open up innovation and creativity, or just gain commitment.
- After the list is done, review them and select your best three.
- Inspire yourself from the questions presented by Liz and Shawn:
- Sample of go-to questions
- “What does this look like from your perspective?”
- “What am I not seeing that’s important for me to understand?”
- “What are the risks or the downsides?”
- “What are we assuming that just might not be true?”
- “Are there any reasons why we shouldn’t proceed?”
- Sample of go-to questions
- Inspire yourself from the questions addressed by your colleagues
- Listen for questions that you like or questions that you noticed to bring results and great ideas or answers
- Use the collected set of questions
- Make sure you have added the questions in a known place and use them because they will help you tell less and ask more. And when you as a leader ask more, you’re going to get more from others, more insight, more capability, more ownership.
34. How to Find the Story
Every time you speak with somebody, especially if there’s a problem that arises or even a suggestion or feedback, you should find the story. Ask that person: “Well, tell me the story behind that.”
By knowing the story you can understand better the context, you could empathize with that person and allow you to understand what they are looking for, versus what they might be just asking for.
Happy reading! 🤓