In the world of care—be it in schools, hospitals, or nursing homes —real success goes beyond the basic duties we perform. It’s also about the well-being of the caregivers themselves. For you, leading such a distinguished institution, it’s crystal clear: You’re here to nurture a culture of dedication, excellence, and positivity among your staff. But let’s face it, the past few years have tossed us into uncharted waters. The post-pandemic era has left many feeling burned out, less driven, and disconnected.

The core of your institution beats with the passion and dedication of your team, who came aboard inspired by the noble goal of serving others, not just hitting business targets.

In our recent webinar, “Beyond Burnout: The Blueprint for Transformative Culture”, we explored how to kickstart change, enrich your culture, and boost the morale of your team, even when times are tough.

Here at Axialent, we stand by the conscious business approach. This model intersects caregiving with the deep levels of human connection and kindness. In a conscious business, the goal isn’t just about making money—it’s also about the well-being of everyone involved. This includes your employees, the people you serve, and the larger community. Caregivers, mostly driven by values of empathy and kindness, are dedicated to caring for others yet often feel neglected. Conscious Business practices teach caregivers to know themselves better and be resilient, which helps them deal with their complex roles in a sustainable way. By bringing these principles into their work, caregivers can create an environment that focuses on the complete well-being of those they look after, although not at the expense of their own.

“Easier said than done,” you might say. How do we strike the balance between the business side of things and taking care of our caregivers’ well-being? With the constant push to do more with less, we run the risk of thinking that doing ‘more’ is the same as doing ‘better.’ This dilemma points to an urgent need for solutions that get to the heart of burnout and lack of drive while also rekindling the inner fire and commitment within your team.

Our approach is tailored; we get that caregivers face unique challenges. We know that their well-being can’t be the object of quick fixes. It needs a whole-person approach that is rooted in a culture of empathy, support, and self-care within the organization. By truly embracing the idea of caring for caregivers, institutions can create an environment where staff feel valued, respected, and in control. This fosters a stronger sense of belonging and purpose among caregivers, reigniting their spirits and dedication.

Investing in the well-being of caregivers isn’t just good for them—it’s smart for the institution too. By looking after the mental, emotional, and physical health of caregivers, organizations build a foundation for lasting success. This isn’t merely about lessening burnout or upping productivity; it’s about cultivating a culture where caregivers don’t just get by—they thrive. This empowers the institution to live out its mission with true integrity.

In conclusion, taking care of our caregivers is essential, now more than ever. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s about creating a supportive community where everyone can do their best work. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it. Let’s build a culture that looks after those who look after us all.

Because when our caregivers succeed, so do we.

In a rapidly evolving business environment, characterized by constant changes and growth challenges, corporate culture emerges as a crucial pillar for the survival and prosperity of organizations. This global phenomenon not only affects large corporations but also startups and medium-sized enterprises. This article explores the nature of corporate culture, its economic impact, and its influence on business performance, offering a comprehensive perspective on its role in the modern era.

Corporate culture transcends a set of written values; it represents the soul of the company. It is the complex fabric of beliefs, behaviors, symbols, and systems that dictate how employees interact and make decisions. It is essential for navigating a disruptive business world, where only 23% of executives acknowledge that they can effectively manage cultural changes to align them with the business. Symbols in the form of rituals and myths, observable behaviors, and underlying systems define the unique character of each organization. This intangible yet powerful component is what drives companies to overcome obstacles and achieve their strategic goals.

To illustrate the economic impact of corporate culture with concrete data, we can consider, according to a survey by the Korn Ferry Institute, that between 30% and 50% of an organization’s market value can be directly attributed to its culture. This shows us that culture is not only a key strategic differentiator but also a considerable and compelling economic asset.

Furthermore, a recent study has revealed the power of a single cultural attribute, such as recognition, in the economic performance of a company. If the number of employees perceiving recognition as an essential attribute of their work environment were doubled:

  • a 9% improvement in productivity,
  • a 22% decrease in safety incidents,
  • and a 22% reduction in absenteeism would be observed.

This translates to $92 million in productivity gains and millions more in savings due to decreased incidents and unscheduled absences.

Other studies also emphasize that companies prioritizing culture and investment in their employees can grow sales and margins up to twice as much as those that do not.

The economic influence of a strong corporate culture is undeniable. Another comprehensive study has shown that companies with strong cultures aligned with their strategy have significantly better financial performance.

A longitudinal analysis of 25 companies over 11 years revealed that organizations with adaptive and aligned cultures experienced a 682% increase in revenue, compared to a 166% increase in companies without such alignment. Additionally, in the realm of mergers and acquisitions, an aligned culture is a critical factor for success, with executives willing to abandon deals if the culture is incompatible or reduce the purchase value by up to 30%.

These data underscore the power of culture as a driver of growth and sustainability. Likewise, a strong culture positively impacts employee retention and satisfaction, customer loyalty, and the innovative capacity of the company, creating an ecosystem where all aspects of the business nurture and strengthen each other.

  • A well-defined and executed corporate culture becomes a key strategic differentiator. In the current competitive landscape, where the pace of change is staggering, a culture that supports and embraces this change is vital. This is a key aspect that companies should not overlook if they seek not only to survive but also to thrive in the modern business landscape.
  • Effective culture management can and should be a strategic initiative to generate more economic value and ensure a prosperous future.
  • Companies that prioritize a culture of innovation and adaptability tend to outperform their competitors in terms of agility and ability to respond to market changes.

Additionally, culture directly affects operational efficiency, decision-making, and strategy implementation. A culture that supports and embraces change is vital. Culture thus becomes the central axis for strategy execution, the development of new products, and expansion into new markets.

It is more than a strategic component; it is the heart that drives success in a competitive and disruptive world. With economic importance clearly established and tangible impacts on business performance, it becomes evident that deliberate actions to foster a strong culture are essential.

The remaining questions are: Is your organization prepared to transform its culture and move towards a prosperous future? And in addition to this, it is worth questioning how much economic value we are leaving on the table by not strengthening the culture to achieve unbeatable results.

In summary: The best business we can invest in is our corporate culture consciously.

Behavioral risk management is an emerging field that aims to understand the underlying human and cultural factors that can lead organizations into both success and failure. By digging deeper than surface-level controls and metrics, behavioral risk assessments provide valuable insights for leadership teams looking to transform their culture and bolster integrity.

Mirea Raaijmakers, a pioneering expert in the subject, has over a decade of experience applying behavioral science to regulatory oversight and internal bank programs. In our recent webinar, Mirea delved into the core principles and promising potential of this approach.

The Bright and the Dark side of companies

There are two sides, the dark side and there’s also the positive side of organizational culture, which is a very good place to be. It’s where risks are taken in a very balanced way, and we’re efficient and in control, and we know there’s trust and integrity. But there’s also this other side of culture, which is also part of our focus.

I would say it’s behavioral risk management, that’s the darker side. It’s where, inconsistencies are inefficiencies, distrust, that’s where the sharks are. And I think the question is not so much, do organizations have a dark side? I think every organization has a dark side, every organization also has bright sides. And honest management and leadership is about understanding both sides, understanding what’s going on and doing something about it when necessary, and then being able to dive deep below that waterline and also swim out to where the sharks are is absolutely part of the leadership that you know today in this rapidly changing world.

The Desire State

How does behavioral risk management connect with safety in industrial enterprises?

There’s absolutely a connection there, so if we think about safety, if we’re talking about a safety culture or a risk culture, we’re talking about this as a desired state, at that moment we’re talking about the desired behaviors we want to see and that are essential and crucial for our organization because, in the work we do, we need to ensure our people and employees are safe, we have to ensure that the products we’re producing are also safe for our customers, in banking it’s important to have a strong risk culture, which means you’re aware of the risks.

You’re identifying your risks, you’re escalating them when necessary, but all of this has to do with the desired state, the desired behavior we want to see and behavioral risk management can be very helpful in developing you toward that desired state because it gives you an insight into what’s preventing me from reaching that state, what’s preventing me from reaching that safe culture that I need.

Culture of Avoidance

Many organizations may inadvertently foster a culture of avoidance when it comes to risks. It’s like wanting to do the right thing, but unintentionally causing avoidance, which isn’t good for business. What are some signs? I think when we talk about avoiding this, and I believe in such a turbulent world, avoiding risks or staying in the safe zone is a behavior we see quite often.

Bringing it back to Darwin, you know how people respond to stress and threat in their lives—either fighting, fleeing, or freezing. I think you know how avoiding and evading risks in this turbulent world is putting things backwards; avoidance is a coping mechanism. A coping strategy for many organizations or individuals in organizations who feel overwhelmed, out of control, psychologically threatened, and choose to simply do as little as possible and stay away from risk. I believe this is very undesirable because for organizations, we think about, small business entrepreneurs, but also corporations, taking risks is part of organizational life and being part of staying viable. And I think here again, it’s true, instead of avoiding challenges in life, you know it’s better to face them and organize yourself around them, make sure you understand them as much as possible, organize support, and face them head-on rather than avoiding them because you know you’re on the road to nowhere.

Is an Honest Mistake acceptable? 

What is your opinion on an honest mistake that could lead to a major regulatory issue or loss of lives?

People aren’t perfect, we’re not perfect, and we make mistakes, I think many things going wrong have to do with human errors and there are absolutely examples of ill intent of crossing the line, I think you have to be very clear that there’s something that’s not at all acceptable.

I think many organizations fall into the trap of not being clear about accepting unacceptable behavior, but if it boils down to human errors you have to do it. I think the obligation is to find out what really happened and then with a lot of individual behavior that you see, there’s also a connection to the culture of an organization, so the social system of the organization you know sets a social norm that people must adhere to and there’s, social reward and social rejection. If it’s unacceptable behavior, then be very clear about it, but I think most behavior is like that. It’s a much more complex story, which I think for organizations is key to uncover because they have to carry on with their organization, they have to move forward, they have to keep the organization alive.

In conclusion, behavioral risk management emerges as a transformative approach, shedding light on the intricate interplay of human behavior and organizational dynamics.

By embracing this paradigm, organizations can navigate uncertainties and foster cultures conducive to long-term success and sustainability.

Talking about the struggles and pains of leading a major restructuring is unfashionable in senior management circles. Executives call those restructuring projects “challenges” or “opportunities to transform”. Managers are supposed to be strong actors, make the impossible happen and stay energized and engaged throughout the process.

Yet, many leaders who moved up the ranks in times of growth are not fully prepared for restructuring and downsizing. Nor are they comfortable with the ambiguity and unpredictability of our increasingly complex world.

Moreover, the pressure on the role of executives is increasing. As in other parts of society, managers can no longer rely on their formal role as a source of authority. When a child was complaining about a teacher 20 years ago, the usual response of parents was “behave and try to get along with the teacher”. Today parents share the complaint with other parents online. The role of the teacher, or doctor, or manager evokes less and less trust. Combined with constant business change, this leads to an obvious but often unsaid truth:

Being a leader increasingly means to deal with major crisis situations whilst under pressure in your own role. Many executives therefore see less and less meaning in what they do, moreover as today’s tightly controlled corporate structures limit their own room for action. This can turn into a downward spiral for leaders, reducing their effectiveness, their identification with the role, their engagement and ultimately their mental and physical health.

A lot of tools have been recommended for leaders to master any type of crisis. We assume that our readers are already sufficiently equipped with the usual management instruments. Instead, we invite a short reflection on a very ancient story which can help us gain a complementary perspective.

The sea was calm when Ulysses and his sailors approached the island of the Sirens. All men had plugged their ears with wax to avoid hearing the deadly song of the Sirens. Only Ulysses dared to confront the danger and kept his ears open. However, he made sure that he would not be swallowed by the song of the Sirens by asking his men to bind him to the mast and not let him loose under any circumstance.

When we hear heroic stories, like the one of Ulysses, or watch more recent heroes going through life threatening challenges in movies, we experience in some short moments the angst of confrontation with the unknown and the dangerous. In those moments, together with our hero, we neither run away, nor are we swallowed and destroyed by the experience. We stay confronted by the danger, and we are relieved when the hero comes out of the experience. He is not only safe now, but he is stronger and surer of himself and of what he stands for.

Leading through downsizing, restructuring and other forms of major organizational crisis, there could be moments where leaders admit that they are not strong and all-knowing. They could become aware of their limitations and ask for help instead, as Ulysses did when asking his team to secure him.
They could, at the same time, avoid closing their ears and looking away from the threats and issues. They could avoid isolating themselves from their teams when times get rough, as many executives tend to do. They could instead stay connected to their people and the organization, while keeping their ears open and keeping their own voice.

During times of restructuring and crisis there could be moments where leaders become more aware about their role and about themselves and make sense of what they do and who they are. The crisis is a great moment in time to get in touch with, and express, one’s own true beliefs.

It is possible to go through a crisis and stay true to who you are and express it authentically and skillfully.

If leadership is executed like that, chances are that leaders and their teams will weather the storm. More than that, they are more likely to benefit from it and grow as professionals as well as personally. Ultimately, in leading through the crisis in that way, they will have the privilege to leave a meaningful legacy. This legacy is not only the targets they met, but also the maturity they have gained as human beings and the stronger and healthier organization they have built. We encourage leaders to look for the support they need to deal with restructuring and other major crisis in a meaningful way. Leaders face great challenges today; however, the opportunities are equally as great.

In our journey through the art of facilitating challenging meetings, we’ve explored the magic of creating the right environment and the importance of establishing connection and rules. Now, let’s delve into the heart of the matter: the facilitation dynamics that transform these meetings from ordinary to extraordinary.

Facilitation dynamics aren’t just about managing a discussion; they are the soul of the meeting. It starts with a clear definition of the issue, which should ideally be done as pre-work. This groundwork ensures that everyone comes to the table prepared, saving precious time for decision-making rather than information sharing.

Preparation Is Key:
The agenda of the meeting is like a symphony, where every element must harmonize with the next. It’s about combining connection, context, and content in a way that resonates with everyone involved. This requires a thorough understanding of instructional design methodologies and often, a collaborative Design Thinking approach.

Engaging Techniques:
In my toolbox, I have several techniques to ensure active participation and to push people gently out of their comfort zones while maintaining psychological safety.

These are the ones I use the most:

  1. 1-2-4-all: This technique starts with individual reflection, allowing each member to gather their thoughts independently. It progresses to pairs, where ideas are exchanged and developed, then to groups of four for further consolidation, and finally to the full group for a comprehensive debrief. This gradual build-up ensures a diversity of perspectives, and encourages quieter members to contribute.
  2. World Café: Ideal for larger groups, the World Café fosters collaborative dialogue and knowledge sharing. Participants move between groups, discussing various topics, then bring insights back to their original table. It’s like creating a web of shared understanding, enriching the collective intelligence.
  3. Pre-Mortem Exercises: In contrast to a post-mortem, a pre-mortem involves anticipating what could go wrong before it happens. Teams imagine a future where the project has failed and work backward to identify potential pitfalls and preventive measures. It’s a powerful way to avert problems before they occur.
  4. Role-Playing: This method brings scenarios to life, allowing participants to explore real-life situations in a controlled environment. It can unveil hidden dynamics, promote empathy, and offer insights into how different approaches may play out in reality. It fosters vulnerability based trust. It is also often done with fun.

 

The Importance of Time Boxing:
One crucial aspect I’ve learned over the years is the value of time boxing. Limiting the time spent on each discussion point ensures that we stay focused on what’s essential. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Post-Meeting Actions:
A successful meeting is only as good as its follow-up. It’s vital to consolidate the outcomes into actionable decisions and commitments. Each participant should leave with a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the next steps. This is where the transformation begins to take root.

Social Dynamics:
An often-overlooked aspect of facilitation is the social dynamic. Incorporating physical exercises related to the content or simply allowing for long breaks can significantly enhance creativity and foster deeper connections among team members.

Conclusion:
As we close this series on facilitating challenging meetings, it’s clear that the true “magic” of facilitation lies in authenticity, empathy, and a genuine love for people. From creating a safe space to navigating the complexities of group dynamics, every aspect of facilitation is about guiding teams to uncover their best solutions and paths forward. Whether it’s through mastering the art of connection, establishing ground rules, or engaging in dynamic facilitation techniques, the goal remains the same: to transform each meeting into a stepping stone towards greater understanding, collaboration, and success.

Thank you for joining me on this journey; may your meetings be ever fruitful and your paths forward clear.

Last time we talked about the magic of leading tough meetings, right? This time, let’s get our hands dirty with what really sets the stage for those breakthrough moments . If the first article was our map to the territory, consider this your compass—guiding you through the nuanced art of connection before diving into the context and content that define the journey of any high-stakes meeting.

In the realm of facilitating meetings that matter—the kind that shape futures and forge new paths—there lies a golden rule: Connection before Context, and Context before Content. It’s a principle that, in my 26 years of coaching, has proven to be the linchpin of success in meetings where stakes are as high as the mountains to climb.

The Golden Rule Unveiled

At the heart of every transformative meeting is the initial, often understated act of connection. Before I delve into the meat of the matter, we engage in a ritual: the Check-in. This is where each participant, in a moment less than a minute, shares a slice of their current state, their expectations, and their intentions for the gathering. It’s a seemingly minor act, yet it lays the groundwork for a shared understanding and a unified front. In meetings poised to reshape mindsets or redefine strategies, I take this a step further. I prompt participants to reflect on a personal level: “For me, this meeting will be a success if…?” The responses, as varied as they are insightful, allow us to not only align our goals but also to tailor the journey that our meeting will take. And as we wrap up, these very insights become the benchmark by which we measure our success at the check-out, providing a bookend to our narrative.

Embracing Mindfulness for Focus

In my toolkit lies an often-overlooked instrument that I’ve come to regard as my secret to unlocking true presence: mindfulness exercises. Whether it’s through a brief session of cardiac coherence breathing or a guided meditation, the power of shared silence is profound. Participants emerge not only relaxed and at peace but also more present and engaged. It’s in this unified state of focus that the true work can begin—where each voice finds its place, and the collective wisdom of the room is harnessed.

Crafting Ground Rules: Ownership and Accountability

Moving beyond the connection, we establish ground rules that go beyond the mere mechanics of meeting etiquette. These are the principles that anchor us to the Conscious Business mindsets—a shared agreement on how we will navigate the waters ahead. I introduce tools such as the Bulldog Meter, allowing each person to state their preference for the level of challenge they’re willing to embrace, fostering an environment where constructive confrontations and genuine dialogues are not just expected but encouraged.

Debating with Intention

As debates unfold, I encourage participants to:

  1. Clarify: Define key terms to ensure a shared language and understanding.
  2. Diverge: Embrace a variety of perspectives before converging on a decision.
  3. Commit: Ensure every decision made is one that all can support, having given everyone the floor to voice their views and concerns.

Conclusion

The dance of a difficult meeting is intricate, where each step counts, and the rhythm is set by the collective pulse of those present. As we lay down the ground rules and establish our connection, we create a space ripe for transformation. But the journey doesn’t end here. In our next piece, we’ll dive into the pulsing heart of these meetings—the dynamics that bring our carefully laid plans to life, where the alchemy of facilitation conjures outcomes that often surpass our wildest expectations.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the nuances of facilitating meetings that are not just necessary but truly essential. The path is laid out; the compass is in your hands. Are you ready to lead the way?

Meetings are the vessel where ideas are forged, plans take shape, and futures get decided. However, not all meetings are smooth sailing, especially when a diverse set of opinions, personalities, and competing interests are at play. Difficult conversations, whether addressing performance issues, negotiating contracts, or managing team conflicts, are an inevitable part of the business landscape. How these meetings are moderated can be the difference between success and stagnation.

The stakes of certain meetings are elevated due to the significant topics they cover, the crucial decisions pending, and the seniority of the attendees. With over 26 years as a strategy consultant for senior leadership teams, I can attest that facilitating these high-stakes meetings is both the most intriguing and demanding aspect of my role.

So, What Makes a Meeting Difficult or Transformational?

In my experience, the way I describe it’s basically those gatherings where decisions and actions concerning complex issues – be they problems or opportunities – need resolution. Situations where conflicting opinions, varied interests, and occasionally hidden agendas come to the fore.

Another breed of challenging meetings are those with the goal of transforming mindsets, reshaping behaviors, and redefining ways of working and leading collaboratively within a team. The way I see it is that more often than not, this transformative journey commences with a singular, challenging meeting.

The Essence of a Successful Difficult Meeting

I’ve witnessed many successful meetings and for me what stands out, is that there’s a collective commitment to the decisions made and actions charted. It’s where opinions are openly confronted, conflicts of interest tackled head-on, and the “elephants in the room” addressed. Additionally, it’s where participants truly agree and begin to think, act, and engage in a renewed, intentional manner.

Unpacking the “Magic” of Facilitation Success

As someone who’s often at the helm of challenging meetings, particularly with Global ExComs or within non-collaborative matrix organizations, the “alchemy” of steering such meetings to success always astonishes me.

There are myriad ingredients at play here, each vital in its own right. The foundational principle hinges on curating an environment of trust and safety. An atmosphere where each participant:

  • Can voice their truths
  • Feels and ensures understanding from others
  • Is willing to build from confrontations and conflicts
  • Fully commits to final decisions, even if they were initially opposed
  • Sincerely wants and pledges to evolve their mindsets, behaviors, and capabilities as conscious leaders.

For those of you who’ve had a brush with our Conscious Business & Leadership model, some of this might ring a bell. In our meetings, we’re all about diving into these mindsets and behaviors. It’s like shifting from being a ‘Player’ rather than a ‘Victim’ or embracing the ‘Learner’ in us rather than the ‘Knower’. It’s about making requests and commitments that are spot-on impeccable. And hey, mastering our emotions and conflicts? That’s the name of the game. Not to mention, championing genuine communication and collaboration. It’s all part and parcel of how we roll in these sessions.

The challenge lies in fostering this environment and nurturing these growth mindsets during transformative meetings.

Even with high-functioning, cohesive, and aligned teams, managing challenging meetings is no easy feat. Is there an element of magic involved? Perhaps.

We’ve only just scratched the surface of this multifaceted topic. So, if your curiosity’s been piqued, I promise there’s plenty more to delve into. In my next piece, I’m going to unravel the intricacies of these meetings, specifically focusing on the art of understanding, aligning, and wholeheartedly committing to rules. And trust me, when we talk about rules, it’s not just black and white—there are shades and dimensions you might not have considered. So, get ready for a deeper dive and keep me on your radar. See you soon!

Are you caught in the constant routine of a hectic work life, drowning in a sea of endless tasks? Are you back from vacation only to find yourself plunging back into complaints about overwhelming projects, unmet objectives, and unsparing stress impacting your mental and physical well-being? Does the thought of switching jobs frequently cross your mind?

If these situations seem all too familiar, you’re not alone. As a seasoned coach and consultant, I’ve encountered this scenario repeatedly.

However, what if I told you there’s a remedy within your reach? It starts with ditching the complaints and adopting a player’s mindset over a victim’s—embracing the philosophy of Essentialism.

Essentialism is more than just a productivity tool—it’s a philosophy for life. It’s about cutting the clutter and focusing on what truly matters, allowing you to lead a more fulfilled and balanced life both personally and professionally.

As Greg McKeown has written in his book titled “Essentialism” it’s not about doing more things in less time but doing only the right things right. It’s the constant pursuit of less but better, which involves discerning what’s essential and really eliminating what isn’t.

In embracing essentialism, the power of choice is our foremost ally. It’s crucial to recognize our ability to choose, to realize that not everything is an obligation or a “No-Choice”. Essentialism is not about getting more things done; it’s about getting the right things done and well done. It allows us to discern, to choose wisely where to invest our time and energy, and empowers us to focus on what truly matters.

In a world cluttered with tasks of little importance, discerning the trivial from the vital becomes a critical skill. Most of what consumes our time and energy doesn’t contribute significantly to our lives or the lives of others. By learning to distinguish the meaningful from the meaningless, we can allocate our resources to endeavors that genuinely impact and enrich our lives.

A simple word, “No”, becomes a powerful tool in our pursuit of essentialism. Saying no isn’t a rejection but a necessary decision to prioritize what is crucial over what is not. This seemingly simple act creates the space, the breathing room, for us to focus on what holds real value and meaning. But mastering the art of saying “No” goes deeper. It starts with self-awareness: understanding your priorities, limits, and values.

Saying “no” effectively is about clarity, understanding, and empathy. For instance, when a colleague requests you to take on an extra project, it’s not about bluntly refusing but finding a nuanced approach. You might say, “I understand this project’s importance, but with my current workload, I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it deserves. Is there another way I can assist or a different timeline that might work?”
Another scenario could be a friend asking you to join them for a weekend trip when you have prior commitments or simply need some personal downtime. A thoughtful response could be, “I’d love to spend time with you, but this weekend I have some commitments I can’t push. Can we find another date that works for both of us?”

In these conversations, you differentiate between the task and the individual making the request. You’re showing respect for their needs while also asserting your own boundaries. And, if for some reason you can’t fulfill a commitment, take responsibility. Address it, apologize, and find ways to make amends.

The implementation of consistent routines can also facilitate a life oriented towards the essential. It enables the essential to seamlessly integrate into our daily lives, alleviating the mental load of constant decision-making. Through clear and focused intention, through prioritizing and simplifying, we, along with our organizations, can live with a more defined sense of purpose, with clarity in our lives.

But, how do we embark on this journey of reflection and discernment? Firstly, a clear understanding of our mission or purpose at work, our Clarity of Purpose, is essential. A set of questions guide this exploration: What really inspires me? What gives me energy? What unique contribution do I aspire to make? These inquiries act as the compass directing our journey towards essentialism.

Time management plays a pivotal role in steering this journey. Start by assessing your recent months’ agenda: the tasks you took, with whom, and how you invested your time.

Categorize each as either one of your top 2 essential priorities or not. Now, reflect: Are you satisfied with how you’ve invested your time? Is there a disparity between where you want to invest your time and where you actually are? When new opportunities knock, don’t just ask if they bear some benefit, but if they present a GREAT opportunity and if they truly align with your mission.

Adopting a lifestyle of essentialism also involves practicing the act of selecting, consciously choosing among the myriad of options life presents. This practice aids us in avoiding ‘autopilot’ mode and maintaining our focus on our priorities.

Asking the essential question, “What is the most important thing I need to do right now?” regularly, helps maintain this focus, and regular reviews of our activities and commitments allow us to assess if we are genuinely progressing towards our goals or entangled in the web of the non-essential.

Learning to decline tasks or commitments that do not align with our focus, while maintaining respect and understanding, is also crucial. Instead of measuring success by the volume of tasks completed, our focus should shift to the value these tasks bring, highlighting the importance of effectiveness and efficiency over sheer productivity.

This shift in mindset and practice, this pursuit of the essential over the numerous, can lead to greater clarity, reduced stress, improved performance, higher professional satisfaction, and a balanced life.

Are you ready to step into a life of purpose and clarity? To pursue what’s truly meaningful, to say no to the ‘good’ so you can say yes to the ‘great’? It’s about achieving better by doing less but doing it right. The journey may not be easy, but the rewards—optimizing results, minimizing stress, achieving balance—are well worth it.

I challenge you, could you soon be in a position where you can confidently tell your boss, “I’m focusing on the essential, doing much less but better, optimizing my results, minimizing my stress, and achieving a balance between work and personal life?” The time to act is now. Start by reflecting and responding clearly to all the above questions. Choose wisely, choose essentialism, choose a life with fewer, but the right things. The challenge awaits you.

Success. Often a desired state that obsesses us. We constantly strive to achieve what we want, be recognized for the impact we can create, being relevant on our area of expertise (or avoiding becoming irrelevant). In the pursuit of success, we often fixate on distant goals that seem far out of reach and tend to lose sight of a crucial element on the success formula: the HOW.  How we reach our goals is what distinguishes us:  leading ourselves with integrity and staying aligned with our values throughout the process.

 

What does success truly look like? what does it mean to be successful in the context of our organization, our teams, and our personal lives?

 

At Axialent, we believe it’s important to redefine success beyond mere victory and acknowledge the significance of the journey we undertake to attain our goals.

 

As leaders we face a critical choice: how will we lead? What type of leader do we choose to become, and what behaviors are we willing to tolerate in our pursuit of results? It’s tempting to believe that the end justifies the means, that we can hide our actions beneath the veil of favorable outcomes. However, our actions ultimately define us, shaping our character and reputation and when aligned with our core values it brings us peace of mind and ultimate happiness, despite of the outcome.

 

Don’t take me wrong, at Axialent we highly support the importance of delivering to each other’s commitments and being accountable for results, we strive for it.  However, we know, based on our experience of more than 20 years working with organizations and leaders across the world, that the best way to achieve  desired outcome is to focus on the process: So, what does that entail?

 

It means, being the type of leader capable of creating a safe space and the right conditions for people to shine and unleash their true potential.  Being centered and acting and responding to challenges from that centeredness that grants a clear judgment grounded on leader’s core values.

 

Our core values serve as a spiritual harness that guides our actions. They are not abstract concepts but concrete and observable behaviors of what is important for us. Our values shape the way we lead and the choices we make. Success beyond success entails standing strong to these values, conducting ourselves in a manner that brings us pride. By embracing our values as the foundation of our leadership, we create a positive impact and inspire those around us.

 

These are some concrete recommendations to uncover our core values:

Pause and reflect: Take the time to pause and reflect on your experiences, both professional and personal, and identify the moments that have truly mattered to you. What values were present in those moments? What principles guided your actions?

Seek feedback: Reach out to trusted colleagues, mentors, and team members and ask for their honest feedback. Inquire about the qualities they admire in your leadership and the values they perceive in your actions. Their insights can provide valuable perspective and help you gain clarity on the values that others associate with your leadership.

Define your deal-brakers: Consider the values that are non-negotiable for you as a leader. These are the principles that you are unwilling to compromise on, regardless of the situation or external pressures.

Align values with actions: Reflect on how well your current actions align with your identified values. Are there any inconsistencies or areas where you can improve? Be honest with yourself and commit to making adjustments to ensure that your behaviors and decisions are in alignment with your core values.

Experiment and iterate: Leadership is an evolving journey. Embrace the mindset of continuous improvement and be open to experimenting with new ways of leading that align with your values.

Embracing our values and leading with integrity will not only guide us towards unconditional success but also inspire those around us to do the same.

 

Success beyond success demands that we let go of our obsession with outcomes and instead focus on the process. How we achieve our results matters most. Yet, we cannot control the outcome. This shift in perspective allows us to detach ourselves from the uncontrollable and concentrate on what we can influence: our own behavior, decisions, and integrity.

 

Our actions speak louder than words. They reflect who we are and what we value. When leaders prioritize performance above everything else, they contribute to perpetuate tyrannical leadership, where achieving objectives becomes more important than nurturing a positive and ethical work environment. In the other hand, when leaders understand the importance of unconditional success, they foster an atmosphere of trust, growth, and collaboration.

 

It’s time we challenge traditional notions of success and place emphasis on the ‘how’ of our achievements rather than just the ‘what’. Our values should be our guiding light, not mere ornaments. They shape our actions and mold our leadership persona. This isn’t about feel-good philosophy; it’s about enhancing our resilience, amplifying our influence, and paradoxically, accelerating our journey towards those business results.

 

Are you brave enough to redefine success and uncover the potency of truly unconditional success?

In the last article, we covered decision-making. Once a decision has been made, how do we effectively implement it? It is important to remember that deciding in itself doesn’t mean doing. From decision to action there is a long way. Implementation encompasses an understanding of who will do what by when, accountability, and then taking action. These should ideally be decided when the decision itself is made. Then, for implementation to happen, it is critical to learn how to establish better commitments and how to always honor them, and what to do when unexpected things get in the way. 

So, how can we create impeccable commitments? 

A commitment is a two-way contract that includes a request and a promise. It looks like this:

  • In order to accomplish A, B, C… 
  • I request you to do X by Z (date). 
  • Can you commit to that? 

This clarifies who will do what, by when, and why.

When it comes to committing, there are only two acceptable possible answers:

  • Yes, I commit.
  • No, I do not commit.

While there are three we can accept until one of the above emerges from the process:

  • I commit to respond (by a certain date).
  • I need clarification (on any of the elements).
  • I counter-offer (on condition of my acceptance).

But let’s also remember that things can be unpredictable, and oftentimes circumstances change. Still, we can always honor our commitments, even when delivering is at risk. So, how do we assess integrity in commitments?

impeccable commitments

Sincerity in commitments is only making promises you intend to keep. This means:

  • You believe you understand the commitment.
  • You believe you have the resources and skills to fulfill it.
  • You intend to apply your energy to the task (will).
  • You have done substantial planning to mitigate risks.

Honorability in commitments means honoring your promises, and unconditionally fulfilling them whenever possible. If the commitment is at risk:

  • Alert the creditor immediately.
  • Apologize and offer an explanation.
  • Inquire about potential damages and offer reparation.
  • Recommit.
  • Learn for the future.

Can you imagine living in an organization (and a world) where the above become true? How could our relationships improve? And our customer centricity? And our accountability? Just think of how life would be if we were told something is at risk as soon as it emerges and not after.

Guidelines for Impeccable Commitments

Following these guidelines in implementation helps to ensure that the productivity and effectiveness of meetings, conversations, and decisions made do not go to waste. Further, it adds to the quality of authentic relationships and conversations if we can abide by some standards. That way, even if circumstances change, things are not irreparable. A new way forward can be found, we can take care of our expected outcomes and the relationship can become even stronger because we know we care for each other.