Leaders, Time to Get Your Shift Together

In a time of scarcity, the greatest abundance is the plentiful of being more of who we already are.

Today’s leaders own a lot. We are responsible for a continuum that has the bottom line on one end, and on the other, cultivating conditions for the organization to thrive during times of uncertainty. We must empower our people to reach beyond the boundaries of imagination to enhance the customer service experience and develop innovative products and services. 21st century leaders are tasked with engineering an ecosystem of hope in the workplace and beyond. This is challenge of the new engagement paradigm.

In the new engagement paradigm, conversation is the catalyst for every shift

I believe designing a space that betters organizational and individual life while driving business excellence requires 5 key shifts.

1. Openness ⇒ Truth

Open-door approachability is no longer enough. Leaders must shift engagement from providing opportunities for autonomy, to creating a culture of authenticity. Once we recognize our truth as leaders – who we are when at our best, and we own it, we can begin to understand how to consciously influence engagement in a way that matters.

2. Values ⇒ Voice

It’s time to stop talking about what connects us, and to start talking to each other about why we’re connected and exploring how it shows up as a strength in the workplace. This shift is a trust-building exercise.

3. Performance ⇒ Play

Employees are hired to perform on time and on budget in agreement with the essential job duties they signed up for. This also grooms them to have one foot out the door. The leadership call to action is to be in the relentless pursuit of emotional, spiritual and financial profit. Happiness improves the bottom line.

We must empower our people to reach beyond the boundaries of imagination to enhance the customer service experience and develop innovative products and services.

4. Dream ⇒ Dare

The impetus for implementation is shifting from creativity to bravery. Thanking your talent for being bold enough to push fear of failure aside is just as important as ideating. Curating courage to do things differently is what organizations need to transform brainstorming to building.

5. Embrace ⇒ Exchange

If we look at adoption to change as a physical action, it’s opening our arms to invite and welcome. However, as we seek to grasp and hold onto this new way of being, we end up using our energy to guard and protect what we’ve learned. It’s just as important to find ease in extending our willingness to share, as it is in accepting knowledge. Organizational resiliency lives in these exchanges that harvest collective intelligence.

Hope is not the expectation that things will turn out well, it is the belief that there is meaning no matter how things turn out. Vaclav Havel

In the new engagement paradigm, conversation is the catalyst for every shift. It starts with the one you have with yourself (personal truth), then with your talent (leadership truth) and with your customers (brand truth).

When you are clear on your truth as a leader, tell it to five people outside the boardroom and empower them to pay it forward to another five. As this exercise unfolds, the circles of truth will begin to overlap and the dotted lines will disappear. What will emerge is a sense of community weaved together through storytelling, ownership and trust. This is where the organic flourishing of an ecosystem of hope begins.

The new engagement paradigm starts from within.


This post was originally published as part of the Winning Employees Through Engagement series on SwitchandShift.com – a leadership blog and community dedicated to the “Human Side of Business”.

5 Steps to Being Fabulous in the Workplace and Beyond

It’s been an interesting few months as I’ve reconnected with parts of myself that I had shelved in favour of what I thought I should be doing, how I thought I should be living and who I thought mattered (on paper). The funny thing is, I didn’t think I was THAT person. After all, I’ve been doing work with clients and in a community around Authentic Leadership for the last few years. While part of the work of emotional intelligence is knowing we’re all at difference places in the journey towards being more of who we already are, I somehow managed to go missing-in-action. To find my way back I had to call myself out. When it came down to the moment of truth, the moment I looked myself in the minds eye and said “time to disrupt yourself”, I realized that meant something entirely different than what I had imagined. Disrupting myself meant being myself. Period.

 

Step 1

Know it. Be it. Share it. Own it. Tyra Banks, a fellow ‘word wizard’, has come up with the concept of “Flawesome” – owning oneself as awesome because of and not in spite of flaws. I finally started living this by staking claim to my truth in this blog postThat was Step 1.

 

Step 2

Prove your intentions to your self. I did this by entering the “I Have Great Genes” Plus Size Modelling Contest. I have 240 votes as of now and there are still four days left to cast a daily vote. Two hundred and forty times in a single week, someone has thought of me with respect and taken great care in their life to vote, and in many cases to share words of encouragement and support.  240 times – Thank YOU.

 

FriendshipJimMorrison

Step 3

Gain more clarity on what you bring to every encounter, professionally and personally. As a consultant and entrepreneur, this awareness has raised the game . No wonder I had a challenge identifying my brand and finding my voice through a website and blogging! I was on the path to digital ventriloquism. There’s a silent club of folks out there that are mouthing what others are saying then clicking their own publish button. Not rocking the Member’s Only jacket helped me discover some powerful things about myself:

  • I breathe to ideate, design, create, share, reflect and write. My best decision has been to surrender to this rather than fight the battle best suited for the gladiators of detail. It’s a hustle to remain focused on where I can create value with the greatest amount of ease and joy.
  • Sometimes the best course is not staying it. Sometimes its getting a GPS so I can focus on the joy of driving my dreams and arriving at my destination ready to rock n’ roll (so I don’t veer off course and join the workplace circus as a ventriloquist ;).
  • I’m finding myself being less and less concerned about the mundane of the Ivory Tower jungle and losing myself in the conscious chaos of the creative world instead.

 

MembersOnlyJacket

Step 4

Make it Happen. This is about the intentional hustle of getting sh!t done. Doing it. Writing, publishing, writing, publishing, being a better writer. Giving – thanks, gratitude, knowledge, time, resources, stories. Asking…with integrity and humility. I have to ask because if I don’t, I’m choosing to take the long-way when I’ve already found the shortcut – meaningful relationships.

Let it Happen. This is a difficult one because it means letting go of the people, opportunities and relationships that are not part of the new design, by trusting your gut and going with ease. If there’s no ease, I’m merely trying to wade in the water at high tide. It’s also about allowing things to align and embracing a great thing instead of resigning to complacency. If I don’t let the magic happen everyday, I won’t know a good thing if it showcased itself to me in flashing neon lights.

Step 5

 

  • …is happening at this very moment. I hit publish, you are reading this and I am thankful you are taking the time to listen in and tune in to yourself.

 

When Fabulous Has No Fear….YOU are possible.

Now go be great and let me know how I can help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

salimaname

#FabulousHasNoFear
#NoHustleWasted

 

 

Death by Conference: When Smart People Use Comic Sans

Dear Speaker,

Here’s the deal. If you get a stage to share your knowledge, it is your duty to humankind to influence the way people think, live, believe and behave — not just talk about yourself/product/service. Knowledge is only power when it enables others to invite simplicity, ease and greatness into their life. Knowledge is not a stockpile of information you think is so important that every gold nugget you’ve acquired over the years needs to be squeezed into an hour on a podium with a lapel mic. Information dissemination when not consciously designed is just complexity. Complexity is ego. Complexity is a form of intellectual trickery and deceit. Complexity is the enemy of learning.

Every encounter be it in a physical or virtual classroom, social media or a passing conversation, is a platform whose best use is to make someone’s life and therefore universal existence, better. It’s what we all want at the end of the day — better sleep,wealth, health, influence, life insurance, gas prices, thighs. We don’t want to climb the hero soapbox and and take the caped crusader’s stance, no. No we do not. We want to knock that box right out from under you so we can sit around the proverbial fire and share stories of coffee stained dress shirts and torn pantyhose, then take time to figure out what it all means. We don’t want to be like Mike, we want to be Mike or Michaela 4.0.

Dear Attendee,

What if you forked out thousands of dollars to attend an industry event —flight, hotel, Town Car, expensive sushi, fancy socks, designer suit. Dollars you deducted from your fake-it-till-you-make-it fund thrown at the chance to gain know-how, network and finally say NO the next time your boss says, “Yes, but…”

What if this, a key part of your own hustle for happiness—is to be attained by sitting in the front row in a middle seat, listening to a person who enjoyed the sound of their own voice and took pride in the chaos of mismatched colours and the unskilfully animated collision of Comic Sans, Calibri and Times New Roman Bold fonts in the name of learning?

What makes you different, lining up with your branded boxed lunch and vendor swag, than the assembly line workers with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets and lunch pails?

Dear Speaker,

Don’t be a foreman when you can be a foreseer. Value is derived from setting a big vision, not from deathy by clicking. If you’re creating your own presentation materials are you really utilizing your time most effectively, gaining momentum on the maximum value generation track?

What makes you different, queueing with your designer labels, Blackberries, VIP badges and small PC laptops than the assembly liners with their faded jumpsuits, hair nets, candy striper gettups and lunch pails?

Dear Participant,

Yes, you are participants, not attendees. You are an active part of the problem and solution. Learning or lack thereof does not happen to you unless you let it. Want to truly be a hero, rise above the rest, save your family and the world? Complete the evaluation form like a boss, like it’s the template for designing the leader of your dreams, the job of your dreams—like your life depends on it…because it does.

DEAR ALL CONFERENCE GOERS: Speakers & Participants,

What really makes you different…from each other? Nothing, until you CONSCIOUSLY CLICK.

Sincerely,

Fellow Conference Participant and Learner

salimaname

My Top 6 Smarten-Up Lessons on Work, Life & Play

This summer marked the start to a new year in my life and I’ve been reflecting on how to shape the coming months. I’ve been very fortunate to have some fantastic experiences and opportunities. But it hasn’t been all “kittens n’ sunshine” though with the life lessons. Some of these lessons have been harder than others (way harder) and I’ve persevered because I’ve been surrounded by people who have believed in me, hustled on my behalf, and paved the way by sharing their own enlightened experiences. So in the spirit of paying it forward, here are my Top 6 Smarten-Up Lessons on Work, Life & Play:

#NoHustleWasted. The shortcut to success takes years to create. There’s no copy & paste formula and along the way you’ll fail. Good. Failure is an outcome not a brand. If we don’t fail, we can’t grow and we remain stuck in the fallacy that more of the same means progress. It doesn’t. You’ll screw up, own it and show up again.

Owning mistakes is not easy. It means being courageous and humble, and leading outside our comfort zone, which also happens to be where the magic happens. If you find yourself with a fresh blank canvas – fill it with ideas and don’t be afraid to colour outside the lines, perfection is the enemy.

“If you’re not giving back, you’re taking too much.” ~ Robin Sharma
I got something like 120 Happy Birthday messages on my personal Facebook page this year. Unheard of for me – I was overwhelmed and extremely grateful, and I responded to each one of them, individually. My personal messages were a way for me to say, “I see you, I hear you, I value you and I care.” Keep it real and give thanks, regularly.

Chances are designed to be given, taken. We can all identify a time when someone took a big risk to invest in our potential. Now gift it to someone else – pay it forward.  And if an opportunity comes your way, don’t let fear be a barrier. Be swift in evaluating the fit for personal values, culture and future aspirations and decide, quickly. Be audacious when your gut says so and smart when you know it’s not a win-win. Be curious – lead with this.

Serve and Protect – Being generous with your knowledge is a form of service and community building. In authentic relationships, where the level of social and emotional intelligence is high, this occurs with a spirit of reciprocity. Find these connections and cultivate them. There are also those who seek to climb to success on the backs of others and we can’t avoid them entirely. So listen more and be selective in what you share that you haven’t already published. It’s a form of brand and intellectual property protection.

Say Hell No to Status Quo – Unless you’re dead set on building a brand that says “I’m the cookie cutter of the corporate world”, don’t be afraid to be different. Take roles that are interesting, volunteer where you can grow your knowledge, network and connections, and take on off-the-beaten path projects. Disrupt — I dare you.

Here’s the thing, we’re in this together, all of us. And since there is no instruction manual for life, the only way to Raise the Game is if we elevate our potential and stick together.

What are some of your best lessons learned in the past year? Share them below in the comments.

Digital Glory: My Very Own Blog

Here I am…in all my digital glory standing at the precipice of the uncharted journey two years in the making — my very own blog. I’ve been guest blogging for a bit now and as I’ve shared with audiences in my talks, if you’re not social and digital, you don’t exist. So it was about time I walked the talk by making a deeper footprint with a website to complement my social engagement. Welcome to a perpetual open house where people can visit and make themselves at home with knowledge, ideas and perspectives. A place to kick it up a notch with purpose.

“You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover what’s within himself.” – Galileo

I like to think of myself as a dot connector and knowledge facilitator, helping others find the shortest distance from A to “Be”, so you can be more of who you already are, with ease and become who you are meant to be at work and at play (if you’re lucky, these are one in the same).  My fierce curiosity means I’ll be writing about a variety of topics: Leadership, Learning and Social HR with a side of Social Good and Entrepreneurship and a fresh twist on life I like to call ‘The Art of Being Human’.

“Think beyond the boundaries of someone else’s imagination.” – Me, naturally

Here you are. You showed up. Awesome. Now it’s about being and staying curious. So have a look around, learn a bit more about me, get in on the Fresh Ink action by subscribing to get me in your inbox, and of course, say hello. Lot’s more to come…