When I served in an Army tank battalion we were taught marksmanship; first at stationary targets, and later, at moving ones. In the classroom, we learned that if the target was moving left or right you had to aim a bit ahead in the direction it was traveling in order to hit it. As we transitioned to ranges with actual moving targets, we had to compensate for vehicles that might be maneuvering at what then seemed like incredible speeds, sometimes as high as 30 mph.
The best marksmen and tank gunners were those who fired an appropriate distance ahead of the vehicle. We called it “Leading the Target.” The finest gunners would apply mental feedback loops to compensate for windage and smoke. Initially coached by experienced tank gunners, they asked themselves a hundred questions and later developed shortcuts for answering them. Today we call those shortcuts heuristics. Others call them intuition. Either way, all are based on gathering information and awareness about one’s environment and then making meaning of it.
Targeting and marksmanship are metaphors often associated with leadership and business. “Right on target,” “Straight-shooter,” or “Bull’s eye” are not uncommon terms thrown about in corporate settings. But “Leading the Target,” has often drawn blank stares from my colleagues. It shouldn’t. Business is moving at a speed considerably faster than 30 mph. And, unlike modern tanks with computers and predictive gun sighting technology, it still takes leaders and teams working together in an organization to effectively stay ahead of the speed of change. Leaders and teams, not unlike marksmen and tank gunners, must determine which organizational challenge or target to concentrate on and how to effectively “hit” it. Read More…
As a senior vice president, I used to sit around the table at corporate boardrooms and listen to varying opinions about the business. Some I agreed with – others I did not. When I experienced disagreement rising, I could feel my energy building towards argument and a need to somehow convince the other person about why I was right; the other wrong.
Such feelings are common. It happens to each of us at various times in our professional and personal experience. In coaching, we invite our clients to work towards “reaching others where they are,” which provides a means to bridge those gaps between humans.
Our journey bridging those gaps begins with the understanding of a concept called “Resistance.” Resistance is really a basic form of energy. It is effectively used by each of us to protect us from the unknown, which can include anything from fearing a roller coaster as a youngster to hearing a new idea in the corporate board room and quickly concluding that it might hinder our own efforts or even harm the company.
When we encounter an idea that is new to us, or that runs counter to what we “always” have done, we feel a resistance inside us. As a coach I invite clients to “lean into” that resistance with curiosity and appreciative inquiry, helping them build awareness about the issue or idea before moving to action. Read More…
Reflecting back on this year, it’s hard to put into words what we’ve all experienced. Things that once seemed unimaginable are now a part of everyday life. 2020 has affected both our personal and professional lives in profound ways. In closing out the year, the gothamCulture team wanted to share some lessons we are learning about life during a pandemic, some silver linings resulting from the disruption, and what we plan to do differently going forward. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season. ~ Andrea Bennett, Marketing Manager
Chris Cancialosi, Managing Partner & Founder: Remote Work Works
This is not the first time where the many long-held assumptions about how work should be done were completely and immediately disrupted. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations that had previously pushed against the idea of remote work to quickly adapt in order to remain in operation.
The pandemic created a situation where resistance to change was decimated by the situation at hand. This disruption showed many leaders that the assumptions they held about degradations in performance due to remote work did not hold water. After an understandable lull in productivity as employees learned to operate in the new remote environment, leaders found that, in fact, their organizations were ready, willing, and able to perform in this new environment.
This forced disruption will, no doubt, change the way work is done moving forward for many organizations. Read More…
I remember hearing a joke about a young man on a blind date. Over dinner, he spent hours providing his date with non-stop detail about his life, his thoughts, and his feelings.
At some point, though, in a rare moment of introspection, he must have recognized that perhaps he had talked too much and had not asked questions or, for that matter, even stopped to think or listen. So, he quickly asked, “Well, that’s enough of me talking – tell me what you think of me!”
Few leaders suffer from such communication issues, but many fall into the trap of failing to take the time to listen, to be attentive, and to give space so that the other person or team members can feel themselves invited into the conversation.
Such leaders are thus limited in their ability to be attentive to others. In order to provide that opening, they need to stop for a moment, to allow the other person to collect their thoughts and formulate an answer. I call it “the power in pause.” Read More…
You’re a busy manager and it’s Sunday evening. You’re trying to get ready for the upcoming week. You log onto your work calendar and incredulously look at your Monday schedule wide-eyed. You are booked with continuous back-to-back meetings from 7 am until 6 pm!
“What happened?” you ask yourself. Then you remember that a dozen people have access to your calendar and, being the ultimate pleaser, you have agreed to every meeting request. Without realizing it, you have set yourself up. It looks as if you will have no down time at all during the day.
And you won’t have something else: The ability to mentally and physically prepare for each scheduled meeting. From one-on-ones to team sessions, you will jump from conference room to office and back again continuously. And at the end of the day, you will try to make meaning of it all.
“I’m just incredibly busy – and that’s the way it is,” some clients tell me. Others try to convince themselves – and me – that they are exceptionally good at multi-tasking, and besides, “I just facilitate the sessions and direct others – I don’t need to do the work that comes out of the meeting.” Read More…
You’ve made it into a leadership position. You are finally a manager! You take the new job seriously, knowing that the responsibilities include meeting strategic goals, managing budgets, and making presentations to senior management. Those challenges are daunting, but you feel well prepared, due to your background, education, and business experience.
And yet there is one area with which you are uncomfortable – the ability to give feedback to the women and men on your team!
While your formal education likely focused on balance sheets, corporate finance, and strategic planning, the idea of giving meaningful perceptions about professional growth to others was likely not formalized – and it was probably left to your own devices and experience.
Many clients with whom I have worked were not provided much in the way of meaningful, timely feedback or instructions on how to do it. For some, even if it was taught, such training was limited, and for most individuals, regrettably, it was a bit of an afterthought. Read More…
I learn from every client. One lesson in particular that comes to mind came from a young leader with whom I recently worked.
My client was extremely curious about how others saw her. She worked hard at becoming aware of her own well-developed sides and those she discerned might be less developed. She was a veritable sponge for learning!
Her growth as a leader was amazing, as she honed skills at dealing with others who might have different styles and perspectives, recognizing her own resistance to change and then setting judgment aside, using the lens of learning and appreciation for others. She worked hard in listening and in taking the time to pause. It was a remarkable journey to watch. Read More…
Faith is a word which elicits different thoughts and emotions for each of us. For some, it is a sense of trusting others or implicitly knowing we are understood or respected. For others, it can be the feeling that we will always be encouraged by our friends, colleagues and fellow travelers, especially in time of need. And for many, like me, it is centered on a belief in a higher power. Often, it is all of those things combined – and more.
Faith and optimism are intertwined. One cannot truly believe that something positive will happen in the future without taking a metaphorical leap of faith that is centered in optimism. Be it a soldier looking over in the foxhole at the man next to him or the coworker with whom you’ve worked for years – it takes faith and optimism to know that the other person will always have your back when the challenges – and battles – confront us.
My colleagues at the Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) have a wonderful perspective called the “Optimistic Stance.” Their outlook says, “Gestalt takes a realistic view of the present and an optimistic view of the possible, preferring to work in the development of the potential within an individual or system rather than correcting them.” In other words, they see each system, be they families, teams or much larger groups, as having inherent capabilities that can be appreciated and noticed. Once they are pointed out, growth is unleashed, which serves every system. Read More…
Over the last 20 years, executive coaching has stepped into the foreground as a way of providing hyper-focused development support to key leaders in organizations. Now, organizations around the world are beginning to see for themselves the impact that executive coaching can have on performance at all levels. Dave describes the difference between coaching and training, the evolution of coaching, and how technology will affect coaching in years to come.
As we face today’s challenges and uncertainties, we are all experiencing emotions and thoughts that we have seldom, if ever, confronted before.
Life indeed throws challenges our way. And those challenges have varying degrees of uncertainty. The end result is a sort of disorientation that, to most of us, can be downright scary. It’s akin to being on a ship in the middle of a stormy sea, or an airplane experiencing severe turbulence. Few of us have been in such situations and therefore cannot know either the duration or the outcomes that might occur. Consequently, we can become lost in our own thoughts and emotions, filled with recurring worry about the future.
And we can feel alone.
These are the times that each of us needs to take a turn being the calm in the center of the storm. And it is not just the leaders in organizations that can and should do it. It is everyone. Read More…