Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Please... Get Out of Your Own Way!

I just finished reading another interesting book!  This one was by Marshall Goldsmith called "What got you here won't get you there."  Marshall is an executive coach that helps his clients uncover the characteristics they have that are getting in the way of further personal progress and success.

Most people think that because they have been successful to this point they will continue to find success in the future.  This is a dangerous position to be in because there are many things that can get in the way of continued success. He has a list of about 20 habits that the individuals he has worked with were using to the detriment of their own success.  Some of the ones I found most interesting include:

#11 - Claiming credit you don't deserve
#12 - Making excuses
#16 - Not listening
#17 - Failing to express gratitude
#19 - Passing the buck

I thought he made some very valid points in the making excuses and passing the buck sections because although as an individual people might think they are escaping judgement... they really aren't! As he put it "I have never seen feedback that said "I think you are a great leader because I love the quality of your excuses." Or, "I thought you were messing up, but you turned me around when you made those excuses."

In the passing the buck section he said "When was the last time someone said "We think you're a great leader because we love the way you avoid responsibility." Or, "It seemed like you were making a lot of silly mistakes, but you changed my mind when you passed the buck and demonstrated someone else was to blame."  One of the biggest parts of being a leader is being able to take the brunt of problem and filter the message down approapriately through the right channels to make sure the problem gets fixed. 

No one is perfect I am pretty sure everyone gets that at this point!  We all have flaws and many of them.  This book teaches leaders to confront their problems and make themselves better in the process.  Instead of doing it behind closed doors Marshall uses 360 degree anonymous feedback.  He conducts one hour long interview with a list of people the client recommends him to talk to.  By collecting this type of feedback Marshall can ensure that when the feedback he receives isn't easily dismissed by the recipient (sometimes the truth hurts). These were the people the recipient wanted feedback from in order to get better in the first place so they are much more open to getting this information back. 

I thought there was an interesting additional comments when Marshall explained the data collection process though.  The respondents Marshall is interviewing are asked to follow the following 4 rules: 

1. Let go of the past - you are no longer allowed to hold a grudge against the recipient you are giving feedback on.  If you aren't willing to accept this condition you cannot continue to grade the process of the recipient. This makes sense because if the respondent isn't going to move forward then they aren't going to lend a hand in the progress someone who improving. 
2. Tell the truth - the process works best if people are as honest as possible and not just saying what they think the interviewer wants to hear
3. Be supportive and helpful - leave cynicism and negativity out of the process
4. Pick something to improve yourself - this way respondents are more focused on improving than judging and they may also experience how difficult it is to change as well

Another thing I made note of was to watch what you hear other people say about you when you are around.  It helps give you clues as to what you can do to be better.  You can also pay close attention to non-verbal communication which happens when people interact with you.  They give off the true message of how they really feel about you that the words they use may disguise. 

Overall these concepts help to shed light on some key ideas that may help you to get out of your own way which lets success come through a little easier.  You may have old dinosaur habits you are using from a long time ago that no longer fit with the concept of who you are now or who you are capable of being.  Don't be afraid of change!  Life is an evolution and some small changes can sometimes make a very big difference in how you come across to people.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Gas Hole and Fuel the Film

I just watched the movies Gas Hole and Fuel the Film and I have to say my view about oil has really changed based on these movies.  It is really important when watching movies like this to keep a critical mind about what is being shown. However, even after taking that into consideration both of these movies raise some interesting questions about the state of the world we are creating right now.  The ideas they bring forward in these films are rivoting.  For example, thinking about who killed the electric car and other alternative fuel patents have been bought and just to be squashed (Gas Hole). Oil interested lobbyists and the roles they play in funding the U.S. Governement Presidential candidates.  It is really scary that this is the state of things now! 

The movies even talk about people who have gone missing or were killed for their inventions or views on this topic.  It was amazing to find out that both Henry Ford and Rudolph Diesel created vehicles that ran on different substances than the oil we know of today.  Ford used a type of alcohol and during prohibition the production was shut down until gas became the fuel of choice for Ford's cars.  The Diesel Engine was originally designed to run on peanut oil!  Mr. Diesel mysteriously disappeared when he boarded a ship and his body showed up a few days later in the water.  He had drowned! 

I also loved seeing how other countries have dealt with these types of challenges!  Germany's people demanded change and it happened for them.  Sweden was also incredible in terms of the stance they took to be more sustainable.

Please watch these films and comment on them.  We are all so powerful to make a changes.  The movies give a lot of different ideas to make an impact.  Vote with your dollars on the products you choose to buy and target political leaders who share your stance on these issues.