Boundless Leadership: Why sports is the worst analogy for leadership

Boundless Leadership: Why sports is the worst analogy for leadership

Sports teams: perhaps the biggest cliché for modeling leadership success. Plus, it is so far from reality it’s painful! It’s not sports, but adventure we should emulate.

  • Sports are finite events. Leadership is not.

  • There is an audience and a prize. No one is cheering or handing out awards for leaders.

  • You win, you lose. In leadership, there is only commitment, a do or do not.

Boundless Leadership: Where do you best belong?

Boundless Leadership: Where do you best belong?

By definition, leadership is a lonely function. The buck stops with you. You make the tough calls, you cop the flack for failures, and with success, it is attributed to the team. It’s tough.

  • Where can we go to get re-charged?

  • How can we get reassurance?

  • Where can we get genuine a sounding board?

The secret is in your A-Team.

Boundless Leadership: Soak in awe for growth

Boundless Leadership: Soak in awe for growth

I watched the afternoon sun light up the autumn tree leaves like a ballerina ablaze. It was magical! There was no fanfare, no trumpeted procession. Just nature expressing itself in full glory, boundless.

I’ve spent a lifetime in love with nature. I’ve had some profound personal experiences face to face with the Great Mystery: northern lights and their ghostly swirls above a remote wild lake, serenaded by loons and their haunting soulful cry. I’ve spent many summer afternoons staring out to sea, bedazzled by the diamond sparkles.

I see dead trees on arid Australian landscapes as frozen dancers, a shadow of consciousness, expired and retreated. Like a tide that comes in, swirls about, and ebbs away.

I feel the breeze and marvel at its invisible touch, sometimes gentle, sometimes fierce and ferocious.

Boundless Leadership: Morning routine to help you evolve as a leader

Boundless Leadership: Morning routine to help you evolve as a leader

Hanzi Freinacht has written a fantastic book, The Listening Society: A Metamodern Guide to Politics Book One, on adult development and why it matters. He lays out an analysis of the various leadership development models and adds a few other layers of development needed. His main point is that development matters. We need to develop our mental and emotional capacities in order to contend with the world we have created. We need to develop our inner dimensions to keep up and manage the complexities of what has evolved in our various cultures and economic systems.

In this brief video I give you an overview, and then a practical strategy to get started: morning routine.

Boundless Leadership: What poisoned the culture in Australian Cricket?

Boundless Leadership: What poisoned the culture in Australian Cricket?

What would cause a professional sportsperson to risk their career with ball tampering? When did winning become more important than integrity? How does one let a decision like this stain their moral fabric?

We’ve seen this before of course. Who could forget Lance Armstrong when he finally confessed to drug doping on the Tour De France, with the explanatory, “Everyone does it.” The argument was that it’s not a fair playing field if you don’t dope.

It’s amazing what we will justify if we don’t have a strong moral code. In my new book, Loyalty, I explain how the best cultures, the most consistent and enduring ones, have a Culture Compass to which they hold themselves accountable. They know their values, they know the behaviours that line up with those,  they know their purpose and who they serve, and they know what results they want to produce. They have a system and a practice of building the Culture Compass into their recruitment, induction, and regular team engagements.

Boundless Leadership: There's an elephant in the room - what now?

Boundless Leadership: There's an elephant in the room - what now?

Every once in a while an elephant shows up. You know, the thing that is blooming obvious, but no one wants to talk about.

Like the fact that Uncle Fred drinks way too much and smells of urine. Or Susan spends more time socialising on Facebook than she does doing the accounts. Or the boss’s right-hand man – the ‘Golden Boy’ – has tantrums that keep everyone cowering behind their desks and taking really, really long lunches – out.

What do you do? If you say something, then what started as something uncomfortable may become a Major Issue. If you pipe up about smelly Uncle Fred, then the family is going to have to deal with alcoholism. If you point out Susan is wasting company time, you may become the tattle-tale. If you complain to the boss about Golden Boy’s tantrums, then maybe you’ll get the sack.

Our fears of creating even more uncomfortable feelings keep us paralysed.

Boundless Leadership: Why we need to get better at wrestling gremlins

Boundless Leadership: Why we need to get better at wrestling gremlins

Here’s what my clients are facing this week:

  • Voluntary redundancies
  • Restructures
  • Unhappy toxic cultures
  • Struggling to get traction in building the business
  • Work drying up
  • Staff not up to the job they are keen to move in to
  • Personality conflicts with Board Members

This is some seriously challenging stuff! There’s lots at stake. Anxiety and fear are rife.

In Australia, talking about feelings at work is akin to dancing on a tabletop in your underpants. You just don’t do it. Not unless there has been a significant amount of alcohol consumed.

Here’s why we need to get over ourselves and start talking about feelings:

Boundless Teams: What creates loyalty, the deep and fierce unshakeable kind?

Boundless Teams: What creates loyalty, the deep and fierce unshakeable kind?

Losing good staff is a serious bummer. It’s disruptive and costly. Our Boundless Team falters as we scramble to fill the void left behind. As a leader, it’s hard not to feel hurt and betrayed by someone we value deciding to leave. The default is to simmer with resentment and blame them for lack of loyalty.

If we don’t ask, “Could I have done anything differently?” we miss an opportunity to improve. The first area to look at improving is an underrated one: recognition. It’s a simple thing to implement, with astounding results.

Consider this insight from O.C Tanner*: