Thanks to my wonderful colleague Sylvia Mattens, I had the opportunity to participate in #LeadershipDay2020 and boy oh boy, what an inspiring day it was! Not only did I get to enjoy a wonderful keynote by Rik Vera on “Managers the day after tomorrow”, but I also got to meet Paul Martinelli, President of the John Maxwell company and by far one of the most inspiring keynote speakers I have ever seen. Before I get way too lyrical about how his performance, let me zoom in on the insights on futureproof leadership he shared.
Paul started with an eye opening one-liner: “Everything you do in your organization rises or falls on leadership.” This one hit me hard. For the longest time, leadership has been a hot potato for me. A couple of years ago, I decided to no longer keep passing it to others, but to handle it myself. This one sentence as spoken by Paul made me realize how much opportunities I have killed not taking action on this matter. Luckily for me, I had decided to take on an awesome business coach and we’ve been working hard on self-leadership ever since. You can imagine to what extent my jaw dropped as soon as Paul said: “Leadership starts with self-leadership. A leader that knows nothing about self-leadership, isn’t leading a dream but a nightmare.” And this was only the start of his keynote…
Strong leadership is all about the willingness and the ability to learn. What can block learning? Limiting beliefs. So becoming aware of your convictions is a very good starting point. If or when you figure out that limiting beliefs are hindering you, you have to open up your mind. After all, you may have all the knowledge and expertise in the world, if you’re being blocked by your own limiting beliefs, you will never be able to use and express it. Beliefs drive behavior, so if you’d like to reach your maximum potential, you’ll have to tackle those restraining convictions. And the next step after that: getting rid of the limiting beliefs in your team.
I was very happy to hear Paul sharing 10 steps to create new beliefs, but first he also explained how everything we do is influenced by a certain learning model. We’re actually preprogrammed but the best news of the day: everybody is able to adapt the program they’ve been living by so far. So let’s take a head start in creating a brand new program based on new personal beliefs!
10 steps to create a new belief:
Every leader should understand that the people in their team are dedicating 1/3rd of their lives to them. Make it worthwhile! How? By inspiring desire. Create a vision and a mission that you love and that your team will want to fall in love with. It’s vital to fall in love with what you do if you want to create a burning desire, which is needed to go the extra mile all day, every day. Without desire, people are not willing to commit. Ever noticed that every thriving organization has a leader (and a team) that’s on fire?
Nothing says “I don’t trust you” more than waiting. That’s why a good leader needs to trust his or her intuition. A strong leader makes decisions that are intuitively guided asking only one question: “Will this help us get to where we want or need to go?” If so, let’s go!
This excellent point made me think of the first steps I ever took in dog agility. At first, it was quite challenging to just walk my dog ,as every time we met another canine, mine would snap and start to bark like crazy. When you know that this kind of barking is stress-related and caused by distrust, then you understand that I was doing something very wrong as a leader. My dog trainer pointed out that every time we met another dog I even slowed down to stop. And just as Paul said, this way, I apparently inspired my dog to not trust me…
The world is programmed to say no. So it’s up to every leader to search for the yesses and to be a yes-company. A yes-company is a company people like to work with and work for. That can only be the case if you find yes-people and create yes-conditions. Take the test and try to buy something from your own organization. Can you get a yes or will you bump into some no’s? And how easy is it to buy a product or service from your company?
Real leaders don’t drive hard bargains because they know what they want and they know what they’re worth. Besides, if you win at the negotiation table, you lose at the delivery. And since it’s your dream we’re talking about, losing is not an option, right?!
If you ever want to achieve your dream, you need the right people in your team. Integrity has become a hype in recruitment nowadays, but did you ever think about the fact that integrity is what people do when everyone’s watching? It’s way more impressive to find people with character. Character tells you what people do when no one’s watching and this mindset will take you a lot further.
Things don’t always turn out the way we want and it’s up to the leader to focus on possibilities instead of limitations. If you succeed in getting a creative focus, your team will follow your example and this way, you turn your people into a winning team. Everybody wants to work for the best company, so just make it happen. And if you meet somebody who wants to work for the second best company, that’s not the right person for your team.
People always say “don’t reinvent the wheel” if you want to be productive. Why not? Go and reinvent the wheel and who knows what will happen! Maybe you’ll come up with a more impressive wheel. It’s up to the leader to challenge old beliefs in order to become futureproof and to tackle the new reality.
Are you afraid? Good! Every good leader is and every good leader should be willing to take the first step while being afraid. Or did you think the Wright brothers weren’t afraid to take their first trip flying a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft? They didn’t know how to handle a plane, let alone fly or land it. And yet they did. Edison didn’t know how to illuminate the world and yet he did. Being in the dark or being afraid didn’t stop them from thinking about it and taking that infamous first step.
Good leadership means creating so much trust that the team will join in moving forward even without knowing all the future steps. Build that bridge as you are walking on it.
As a leader, you should be able to define the value of things because if you remember the law of sacrifice, you know that you’ll need to let go of something of lesser value for the attainment of something of higher value. Again, fear might kick in with the risk of sparking an urge for control.
Picture yourself having already reached the point you want to reach. Know that you’ll be only able to get there with the help of your team. So if you want to imagine yourself in possession of what you want, you’ll need to picture your team right at the center of that and you’ll need to communicate to them exactly what your vision is. Nothing is more powerful for a leader than defining clear goals for every person in the team. Setting goals is setting expectations. Expectations lead to beliefs and beliefs drive behavior. So, in order to get what you want, you’ll need to work on the beliefs of your team to allow them to behave in such a way that the dream will become reality.
By the way, did you know what makes a group photo a good picture according to the people in it? Everyone just looks for themselves in the photo and if that person feels they look good, than it’s a good picture. If you hear “damn, my eyes are closed”, that particular person in the team won’t like the picture. Put your team members in the center of your vision and talk about it.
A lot of people prefer waiting to celebrate until they know what the end-result looks like. Why celebrate the outcome if you can celebrate the people and their efforts?! And the best thing of all: you can celebrate people any time you like! These celebrations create a lot of good vibes and good vibes bring momentum. This ties back into the law of leadership: “momentum is a leaders’ best friend”. It starts with a small spark and will continue to grow bigger and bigger.
Being a strong leader is knowing and respecting these ten ways to create new beliefs for yourself and for your team. But remember: you can only be a good leader if you’re great at your own personal leadership. The highest form of leadership is self-leadership. It’s about you growing yourself, you showing up. How you do one thing is how you do everything.