Archive for January, 2009

Anatomy Of Enrollment

Following my post on the movie Man On Wire, Josh asked: “How did he get such commitment and effort from his friends to assist him in this task, in fulfilling his dream? Even those who could not speak his language…”

What Josh is really asking about is the anatomy of enrollment – what is the process of engaging, enticing and enrolling others to join and support your vision, your endeavor to realize a dream? What do you do to attract and recruit people to join your cause?

Here are a series of thoughts about the process of enrollment – attracting and rallying others to join you. What we already know:
1. People don’t remember what you say, but they never forget what you made them feel.
2. People join something because of what it makes them feel about themselves, because of how it transforms their self-concept.
3. More than anything, people hope to join something greater, in which they may be able to lose themselves and to re-find themselves anew.
4. Many people wish to feel that their lives have a meaning beyond the immediate fulfillment of carnal needs. The innovator, the leader they join provides a vision and meaning which alleviates the fear of emptiness.
5. The charisma of an adventurous vision is in stepping into an unknown to break an impossible barrier. There is a spiritual dimension to this and the desire to escape temporariness, to touch eternity.
6. A bigger vision and endeavor provides for all involved a sense of being bigger themselves.
7. We tend to think in terms of number One’s and number Two’s (and Three’s and Four’s) – the founder, the inventor, the leader are the number One’s. Their assistants and helpers are the number Two’s. Well, nothing big in this world could have happened without number Two’s. We tend to focus on the One’s; this is where the story is told. But there is an over emphasis in this stance – a pedestal personality sensationalism.
8. Here is a thought experiment. Try to take the reversed view – try to shift from the person’s view to the task’s view – try to step into the view of the invention, not the inventor. The view of the achievement – the vision’s view. Imagine for a minute that the task has a “consciousness,” that the vision has its own “consciousness” – that it wants to be achieved and that it has the power to rally and enroll whomever it needs for it to be realized. For the task to succeed, for the vision to be fulfilled – it needs to enroll not just the central character – it needs support characters too. It cannot be accomplished without them.
9. History is mostly told through the eyes of number One’s – we assert that they are the authors of history. The truth is that the number Two’s (and Three’s and Four’s) of most big things held indispensible roles and made irreplaceable contributions. Great revolutions, the founding of nations, business achievements, scientific discoveries, innovation breakthroughs, artistic accomplishments and great triumphs in world explorations – would not have come to fruition without these close supporters. The Two’s feel a similar sense of mission and realization even though they are not acting in the number One role.
10. John Lennon and Paul McCartney needed George Harrison and Ringo Starr to make the Beatles. Michel Jordan needed Scottie Pippen. Lance Armstrong needed his team. Barack Obama needed the rivalry of Hillary Clinton to make him a better candidate. He now needs a series of supporting characters to realize the potential of his Presidency.
11. What is the anatomy of enrollment? We have just witnessed one of the greatest popular rallying and enrollments in modern history. Obama is the 44th president of the US because he successfully caused this rally.
12. There is an invisible energetic component to the act of enrollment. Attraction and rally is fueled by magnetism. The power of contagion that emanates from the can-do confidence of a leader.
13. The same mechanics apply to good causes and to some of the worst things that have happened in history.
14. A leader who is able to rally support and enroll others to a cause brings together many things. Conviction. Creativity. Organizational power. Long view. Determination. Where others see stars, they see a constellation. More than anything they mount a concentration of focus and confidence in their envisioned outcome. A concentration which creates an irresistible field of power. The field gets ratified and magnified by enrollees who join the cause.

Finally, we are each here for a variety of lessons and roles. We did not all come here to do the same thing, act in the same capacity or share in the same destiny. There are different functions and roles wherein all can play a part inside greater whole.

© Aviv Shahar

A Four Year Old Wisdom

Here is a story I heard today from my sister in law about her grandson:
Four years old: mother, I love you like the whole world.
Mother: I love you like all the stars.
Four years old: But mother, if we start competing in love, love will run away…

And I thought wisdom was something you gathered through life and experience…

Capture Creativity

To generate lots of creative ideas you must develop the practice of capturing your creativity. Change, transformation, innovation begin with capturing the idea and then putting it to work.

1. Listen to your ideas. Develop a practice of paying attention to new thoughts, ideas, questions. New ideas turn up anywhere, any time.  Creative ideas turn up when I run, when I swim, in the shower, just before sleep, on the plane, during phone conversation; when I teach and coach. Ideas turn up all the time. I listen when they show up.

2. Record your ideas in real time. Have with you your preferred 24/7 ubiquitous ideas capturing tool. A small notebook; a mini tape, Iphone. Find out what works best for you. I have pads everywhere, in every room, wherever I go.  I never go without these. I then upload all ideas daily to a special folder on my computer. Right now the folder contains 237 ideas, concepts, starters that I want to develop for new blog posts; KEY newsletters; modules; services; talks, seminars and more.

3. Capture the essence of the idea. You’ve got to capture the creative spark in real time. Your practice is to pay attention to the spark. To breathe oxygen into it. To keep it alive. To grow it. You do this by capturing the tag line; the kernel of the concept/ opportunity / insight. Seize whatever is available of it in real time, as it appears. Do not delay. Mozart heard symphonies, you hear ideas.

Note about the metaphysics of ideas: Ideas are opportunistic. They turn up where they have the best chance to be picked up, nurtured and be developed. If you do not pay attention to ideas when they show up – if you don’t capture, nurture and develop them – they will stop showing up. Ideas will stop knocking on your door when they find that you are not home. Knocking on your next door neighbor’s door may be a better opportunity. When ideas come knocking, you’ve got to be in. You’ve got to respond as if your life depends on it!

4. Develop your ideas daily. Foster and nurture ideas every day. Developing the kernels you capture is an iterative process. You nurture, refine and develop your story / idea / concept / book / service / business / daily or as often as you can. Begin by unwrapping the gift you received in the kernel you captured. Open it up, play with it, and develop its possibilities. Do it on your own. Do it in conversation. Do it in open collaboration; whatever fits your creative need and process.

5. Implement and create value. Innovation and transformation begin with creative ideas. They continue with implementing a development process that creates value. Complete the creative cycle. Follow the path of the idea. Nurture the kernel to flower. Grow the acorn to an oak. Unfold it into a form that contains value. Present it, post it, share it, spread it, transmit it wherever you can, in the best ways available for you. Apply it to create meaningful value for others.

The secret of becoming a conduit for creativity and innovation is repeating these steps. Listen to your ideas. Record them in real time. Capture the essence. Develop and nurture them daily. Implement and create value.

© Aviv Shahar

Stepping Into The Unknown-The 11th Emerald Key

Excerpt from the CD – Stepping Into The Unknown

When you were born, you entered this world not knowing failure. The concept of failure did not exist. All you cared about was discovering and exploring everything around you. This joyful impulse to live with your senses wide open to discover the opportunities of living is the experience we are seeking in this key. Reflect on your attitude towards risk – do you step up to opportunities or do you hold back? When did you last take on a new bigger challenge? When did you promise to yourself or to someone else to deliver something without knowing how you would do it?

This creative tension is what pulls you up into a “venturi” tunnel of new possibilities – to discover innovation you did not know was locked in you. Great innovators and visionary leaders take on a greater challenge. It develops them to be bigger persons, to discover the capacities needed to realize their dream. It’s the same for you – you have extraordinary capacities that you are not aware of until such time as you face a new unknown circumstance where these capabilities are needed and are pulled out of you.

This in essence is the story of this day. The inauguration of Barack Obama today is a step into a new unknown future for President Obama and for this nation. It is symbolic that his first act is a Proclamation of Renewal and Reconciliation. To step into a new unknown future and to find renewal one must first reconcile the past.

© Aviv Shahar

Living On Purpose – The 10th Emerald Key

Excerpt from the CD – Living On Purpose

Personal effectiveness is an action that gets results aligned with your intentions, values and purpose. It is the place where your impact matches your intent. In this Key we help you find and articulate your purpose. We take you through a step by step process to discover your deepest beliefs about yourself and articulate your life affirming purpose.

Some people discover their purpose early in life, but most must journey a long road to find it. To have true personal power it’s important that you get in touch with this inner core and find the confidence to believe in yourself. Your life here on earth is significant. What you are here to do matters. Living on purpose is how greatness reveals itself. As you realize your potential for greatness, you can become one with your reasons for being.

© Aviv Shahar

The Future Is Here

Abraham Lincoln is known to have said that “the best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.” That was true back then. Now, the future arrives one tsunami after another, continuously, without a pause.

You are immersed in the future now. Your job is more than just to cope with it. You are trying to decipher and understand it. You work to become a vessel for it; a tool, a conduit for its manifestation. The art of living is in co-creating the future as it arrives.

Leadership is about co-creating the future. In our Future Scenarios Workshop, leadership teams create plausible futures to evaluate opportunities, risks, impacts and uncertainties. We do not try to be predictive. Instead, we explore a range of plausible futures where we can facilitate the transition from coping with the future to co-creating it.

Here is a mindset to practice: The future is here. Your work is to attempt to decipher it. To optimize your responses. To develop today the capacities you will need tomorrow. To ease the future now.

© Aviv Shahar

Are You In Limbo?

Limbo: (Clause 4) an intermediate place or state; a state of uncertainty

Let’s see, what is in limbo right now…?
For a start, the global financial system is in limbo. The economy and many corporations feel they are in limbo. If you lost your job and are looking for new one, you are in limbo. The stock market is in limbo – in between two trends. The Middle East is in limbo. The Obama administration is still in limbo for a few more days. Even NASA is in limbo. India – Pakistan seems to be in limbo. Large parts of Africa are in limbo. You get the idea… This planet is largely in limbo.

The question is – are you in limbo? Chances are that if you are not, you will likely be by tomorrow, at least in one aspect of your life or another. In between jobs. In between homes. In between relationships. In between one clarity and the next. Between one peak and the next.

You have to become very good at managing the limbo state. Limbo is the point where you are no longer in the safety of what was known and have not found yet a new settlement or equilibrium. It might just be the nature of life in the foreseeable future. Perhaps this was life all along but you hadn’t noticed. The point is, you’ve got to develop an indestructible core that sustains you through the limbo state. A sense of clarity about who you are and what’s important for you. A confidence and self esteem not subject to the marketplace of employability. Resourcefulness. Resilience. Gumption. Chutzpa. Tons of optimism. And a good and wide network of friends. Learn to become the answer to the questions around you. You will then never be alone. You will never be left without work.  And you will not lose the sense of self in the state of limbo.

© Aviv Shahar

Bigger Solution Needs A Bigger Person

Excerpt from the Emerald CD – Focus On Solutions Not On problems

The word solution has another meaning in the connotation of Chemistry. It’s the opposite of fixed, solid, rigid and unyielding. To solve, means to turn a substance from hard or coagulated into a fluid, moving state. To solve is to un-fix. To fix something is to make it static; to solve is to turn it into a process.

This Emerald Key points to two necessary shifts in focus. First, a shift from the problem to the solution, and second, a shift from the mindset of solution as a fixed end-product into the mindset of a fluid and organic process of continual improvement and development.

Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” And further, we cannot solve problems at the same level where we encountered them. In other words: if you are looking at a “category 5” problem (on the problems’ Richter scale) you cannot find the solution while being at a “category 5” mindset; you have to attain a greater capacity and a higher level from which to view the problem.

If you want to handle larger problems, you have to grow you. You have to grow from being a “category 5” person to being a bigger person – a person that can generate bigger solutions with ease. A bigger solution needs a bigger person.

© Aviv Shahar

CEO Coaching – Managing For Results

As a CEO, an executive and a leader, you must realize that the three most precious assets you have are your time, your energy, and your focus.  You must direct these to what matters most for the success of your business. It’s time for “back to basics” management. To lead you must be transformational. Participation is not leadership. Make output and results the focal point. Focus on solutions not on problems. You lead because your services and products help people transform their lives.

Here are Top themes for CEOs and executives for the coming year:

  1. Have a solid value proposition understood by all stakeholders.
  2. Clarify goals and objectives.
  3. Be relentless in aligning all activities and resources to deliver on your strategy.
  4. Repurpose resources trapped in non-critical activities.
  5. Understand your core strengths. Build and develop on these strengths.
  6. Cultivate a proactive culture. Help people move forward and take action.
  7. Remove blockages. Increase speed and agility.
  8. Cultivate operational excellence. Deliver exceptional quality.
  9. Build trust. Encourage initiative. Create full engagement.
  10. Institutionalize world class. Optimize processes and practices. Innovate.

To thrive in today’s economy, your focus must be on helping clients meet their needs and realize their dreams while they preserve precious resources. There are great opportunities to create breakthroughs even in uncertain times.

© Aviv Shahar

The KEY: Your Spiderman

The Key is about your uncelebrated Spiderman and Spiderwoman-the person that came to your rescue just when you needed. We wish you all good things for 2009!

You and I would not be where we are without our Spiderman or Spiderwoman. We all need help. We all needed someone to stretch out an arm. To give us opportunity. To show us it can be done. To say, “You can do it”. To believe in us. To raise us up.

There is a “Spiderman” impulse in all of us. We love to help. To make a difference. “The receiving is in the giving.” When you help someone, you are being helped. In our leadership events we encourage participants to share their Spiderman story. Stories about someone who helped them. Rescued them. And stories about when they helped and rescued someone else. One after another managers share their Spiderman stories. Simple stories. Amazing stories.

There are perennial messages coming through these story circles:

  1. None of us got to where we are on our own.
  2. We were all inspired by someone. We were all given a chance.
  3. You become a great achiever through the help and support of others. Everything special, every unique accomplishment has been the work of more than one person.
  4. One moment, one word or sentence has the power to change the course of a person’s life.

Here is a Spiderman story told by Stu in one of our leadership events.

© Aviv Shahar

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