Business Leadership Courage and Creativity
When we started to develop our Total Leadership Connections program ten years ago the world was a kinder place, or so it seemed. Interesting that the launch date for the very first session was September 11 2001! There we were at The Country Place, a beautiful retreat center two hours from Manhattan with a chef ready to pamper 16 people for the next three days. You all have your own stories about that fateful day.
In any case, we began the following month and now, 47 programs later with lots of iterations and revisions to make it relevant to our changing world it is still strong and healthy. Back then we did not even have the list of patterns that you can find in my book, now we can see the way OUT of difficult situations both at home and at work. The OUT Technique has helped hundreds reframe what life tosses at them and do things from a higher vantage point.
Mary took to heart that the victim pattern transformed to its positive opposite becomes an explorer and the martyr becomes an integrator, who is able to ask for help and not do it all.
If you have not taken the free pattern aware quiz go to www.sylvialafair.com and then send us an email or give us a call at 570-636-3858.
Total Leadership Connections: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
A few years ago a colleague told me about Total Leadership Connections, a leadership development program that promised to bring about significant change in leader behavior. I was intrigued, yet skeptical. As a lifelong leadership development professional, I thought I had seen it all. Many programs promised to change leaders’ behavior for the better, but in more than 30 years, I had not seen much, if any, sustained change taking place in the people and organizations I worked with. A lot of money was being spent with little to show for it.
But I was curious enough to want to look at yet another program, so I enrolled in TLC with the idea of finding out what the program could do for leaders, and possibly facilitating it so that I could help others make changes. What I didn’t realize at the time was how profoundly TLC would change my own life and keep on changing it over time. When I say this program is life changing, I’m not talking about a dramatic lightning strike of instant change, although there were “ah-ha” moments. TLC is a catalyst for change that comes about through the hard work of getting to know all sides of yourself as a leader and human being—including those sides you (and others) don’t like so much, listening to feedback that’s not always easy to hear, and then taking action to transform what’s not working.
A major focus of TLC (and of Sylvia’s book Don’t Bring It to Work) is the 13 most common destructive patterns in the workplace. We need to observe, understand and transform those patterns that aren’t serving us well, rather than continuing to repeat behaviors that aren’t working. This is not the instant change we crave in our culture, but a persistent wrestling to the ground of those patterns that are getting in the way of our being the best leaders and humans we can be.
Two recent examples of how this pattern transformation works—and keeps on working—stand out for me, one business related and one personal. In 2009 the recession was affecting my business to the point where I was considering all options, including closing it. In the past (pre-TLC), I might have just given up and labeled myself as another “victim” of external economic forces. But having already spent time and effort transforming my “victim” pattern into “explorer,” I chose to discover ways to reinvent my business. I began experimenting with and educating myself about social media. Along the way, I developed wonderful new relationships, found people to partner with on projects, spoke to business groups on the benefits of social media, coached other small business owners on ways to use this tool to their advantage and found a new niche for my consulting firm. I had transformed from a Cinderella who waited for the handsome prince to rescue her from her awful stepsisters to someone who invented a better pair of glass slippers and then partnered with the prince to create a happy ending on her own terms.
The second example of pattern transformation occurred last summer during my husband’s hospitalization for chest pain and a suspected heart attack. We were set to begin a major kitchen renovation the same day he was scheduled to undergo a cardiac catheterization, and rescheduling either event was not a good option. The “poor me” (“martyr” pattern) of yesteryear would have wasted energy bemoaning life’s unfairness, trying to do everything myself and then complaining that no one would help. The new me lined up my brother-in-law as the “general contractor” to manage the kitchen renovation so I could be with my husband at the hospital. My brother-in-law was happy to help, and our family became closer as a result. In addition, stress was removed from my husband (and me) so he could recuperate, and we now have a beautiful new kitchen.
I could cite many more examples of the changes that TLC has made in my business and personal life. It is truly a gift to yourself, your work colleagues and your family that keeps on giving throughout your lifetime. After all, we’re works in progress who are never quite done with becoming who we already are.
Mary Wilson is the owner of Learning Solutions, a consulting practice that focuses on enhancing organizational success by helping people work together more productively. She is also a senior consultant with Creative Energy Options. You can follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LearnSolMary and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LearningSolutions