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August 2016

9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #5

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I am now exactly half way through my nine reasons to attend the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/), and so, as you can imagine, it seems a bit of a slog. Which is why the 5th reason – five, incidentally, signifying the number of grace – must be because it is fun! Fun! Fun! Fun! And fun is so important. Fun arises when we play and it is when we play that creativity emerges, slowly like a tortoise’s head protruding from its shell, or suddenly like a blast of lightning across a darkened sky.

Without fun the event at the Dominion would never have taken place anyway. I am of a certain age whereby I no longer want to put up with over-serious, over self-important people, even if they might be potential clients. Who can be bothered? You know the sort? Here are some general, though not infallible symptoms: always on a mobile phone having loud, meaningful conversations, no matter how inappropriately (eg. in a crowded train, or on a 90 C sunny beach, or parading and strutting round a £100M yacht; or banging on and barraging endlessly about results, the bottom line, winning, oblivious to other people’s situation, circumstances or feelings; or always putting you and everybody else they come into contact with down, and never giving credit to anyone else apart from themselves. How these people make time drag; how they make the heart heavy. They have no humour, no wit, no perspective on anything else and they destroy camaraderie and all good fellow feeling.

So as I say, without fun the event at the Dominion Theatre would never taken place. I am sure my co-conspirators, consciously or otherwise, made the same decision. When we all met up for the first time, we were all thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she is like; are they going to be easy to work with; is this going to be work – or fun?’ And the great thing was: we all found each other fun and so decided to work together and commit to putting on this event at the Dominion. Yes, within seconds of being together Ali Stewart (http://alistewartandco.com/blog/) and I were laughing, having a ball, about this, about that – Bird (http://birdonabike.co.uk/about/) hadn’t arrived, so we had some fun at her expense (in the gentlest possible way: she had come to Hampshire from Kent) – and then Bird added to the mixed of 101 preposterous things to say before breakfast. We were all killing ourselves laughing and then Kate Turner (http://www.motivationalleadership.co.uk/) turned up and paid for all our breakfasts: wow! You can imagine how funny we found that too – and so we’d do it all again. It was a no-brainer to be involved – because it was fun.

Fun is a precursor to all great achievement, especially team achievements. Sometimes they speak of ‘high morale’ and sometimes of ‘esprit de corps’ and sometimes, more prosaically, of ‘team dynamics’. But whatever the language, when you get down to it, there is an indefinable something invariable accompanying all great achievement. We see it now in Team GB: yes, they have achieved, but is it not visible to all that they are also having a huge amount of fun? Fun isn’t a waste of time; it is an essential pre-condition for most great things we want to do. For one thing, when we are having fun we are never in a state of stress; instead, we are relaxed but also ready, energised, as laughter releases all the positive and healing endorphins within us.

This sense of fun has run through the whole organisation of the The Dominion event – heck, even our sponsors took it on the chin, were fun to deal with! Garry Mumford, even though he is an accountant (www.insightassociates.co.uk) didn’t look stern and say, ‘How much???!!!’ as I outlined the cost to him; on the contrary, he chuckled as he joined in the game. And Gary Crouch, our other sponsor ((http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/), didn’t blink when asked to sponsor; on the contrary, he expressed the view that he knew he was going to have some fun as I was involved (thank you Gary)! So, on the day, one thing you can be assured of if you attend this event: there is going to be massive amounts of fun. To qualify this: we are not comedians, we are not working on our joke sketches – no, I mean the kind of fun and wit that arise spontaneously and naturally from the interplay between all creative peoples. And this kind of fun truly enhances learning, deepens creativity, and as a sidebar, ultimately leads to the results we want without directly aiming for them. The difference in this case being, though, we get there with fun along the way instead of having to shout at the top of our voices down a mobile phone in a packed railway carriage. No wot i meen?

My next blog will deal with reason #6.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #4

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My third reason for attending the leadership Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) was the topic itself, leadership, which I pitched as being of incomparable importance for all of us. As it happens, there is a second topic which the conference will cover that I consider to be almost equally important, namely business development. So I shall write a blog on this as a reason to attend, but not sequentially now (to avoid the boredom of similarity), for in blog #4 I want to discuss a completely different of reason why one might attend this Conference: cost-benefit analysis!

Sometimes you have to force yourself to do something that is not your natural strength, but it is necessary. I am sure one of our sponsors, Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk), an accountant, lives and breathes cost-benefit analysis; possibly wouldn’t make a decision without it. When you meet him at the Conference, he’ll tell you. I, of course, make decisions without it all the time – it’s called intuition, but it can be scary and, frankly, sometimes it really is better to do a bit of homework.

So here is James Sale doing a very un-James Sale type of thing (except that I do like arguments against myself): giving you a cost-benefit analysis of why you should attend this event.

What are the costs? Well, the first and most obvious is the cost of the ticket. There were early bird discounts, but if you came in latterly it’s £97+VAT for the day conference. But then there are other costs: travelling to London and possibly in some cases staying overnight. That said, most people will be from the London area, so I don’t imagine that the average cost would be more than £30. And then there is the invisible cost: the cost of not doing work and being there. The client work you didn’t do or couldn’t do. How much is that worth? I can’t possibly average that, can I? For some it is significant, for others negligible because of how they structure time. But let’s allow a low consultancy day rate – say, £500+VAT – as our figure, and then we reach a total of £627+VAT for the total cost. Seems high? Seems expensive?

What, then, are the benefits? What do you get? What could possibly compensate for a certain £627+VAT loss?

First, we have the ostensible reason for the event: delegates will hear 6 expert speakers talk about leadership, business, business development, motivation and a host of related topics as they emerge. Is that worth anything? Speaking for myself, it could be worth a fortune! I have been in this game for 21 years and I came from a teaching background. Truly, I knew very little about business, had negative views on leadership based on various headteachers I had known, and my views on what made performance tick were extremely impressionistic. So what did I do? Three things: I studied in the evenings at Bournemouth University for a Diploma in Management Studies, which I acquired with ‘Distinction, I read voraciously, and – and critically – I went on every course going. And it was those courses that really opened my mind to what was possible. Indeed, it was through the courses that I was able to innovate myself and create new things because I understand what some of the ‘old’ things were. Put another way, one good idea can be worth a million pounds or more. There are so many people who encounter or even discover great ideas everyday, but who simply fail to act on them because they have a limited view of what is possible, certainly for them, and so remained trapped in less than optimal circumstances for themselves. But it is going on a course just such as this that introduces new ideas and explodes possibilities in the mind.

So, if you could get three great ideas either for your existing business or work, or for your new business or role, what might that be worth? Shall we say a million pounds because that’s what it’s worth to me? I exaggerate? OK, £100,000? Still too much. Alright - £10,000, but that’s the lowest I would ever concede.

Second, we have the non-ostensible reason for being there; though for some, it is THE reason: the network. I can tell you now that there are some absolutely fabulous people, aside from the speakers, who are going to be there. And I also need to tell you this: everything you want in life, everything, depends upon somebody, somewhere, opening a door for you. Thus two conditions appertain for that door to open: first, that you have met that person somewhere; and second, that they like you. But if you don’t meet them, they will never like you. So be there – so you can be liked, and doors can open. How much is that worth? To meet the right person for your business and for your job, well – could be everything. One of my fellow speakers on the stage I introduced some years back to a friend of mine, they hit it off, and they have been equal partners in business ever since. What is that worth? Literally, hundred of thousands of pounds! But if we consider just a simple introduction leading to consultancy work with a typical SME, then we are probably going to make about £5K.

Third, and I’d better make this finally – we have the goody bag all delegates get. All the speakers (6 of us) and sponsors, Garry Mumford (whom I’ve mentioned) and Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (http://www.spectrumserversafe.com/) are all contributing to the goody bag to enrich the experience. Now it would be wrong of me to tell you what they have for you, but I can tell you that my company’s contribution to this bag is worth exactly £175! Even if my fellow speakers and sponsors are meanies relative to me (but not to the general population; I just happen to be excessively generous – and modest), we could still say £25 per contribution and that would give, a £200 goody bag!

Let’s tally then:

Costs (ignoring VAT)

97

30

500___

£627

Benefits (ignoring VAT)

10,000

5,000

200___

£15,200

I rest my case except to point out that the value of the benefits are over 24 times greater than the costs to you the delegate. A no-brainer or what? The risk of actual ‘loss’ therefore is marginal. Come along and have a great fun day. Ooops – fun? How much is that worth? Did I add that? See you there.

My next blog will deal with reason #5.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #3

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For those of you who know your Motivational Maps you will know that if your number one motivator were Expert, then the primary reason for attending the Showcase: Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) would be the topic of the learning itself: namely, leadership. Of course, Expert is not everybody’s number one motivator, but as it happens, everybody should be interested in the topic of leadership because it is of vital importance to all of us – at all times and at all stages of our life.

We can barely not remember a time, even if we go right back to our experiences in pre-play school, when we became distinctly aware either that we were taking the lead or somebody else – to our chagrin or delight, usually depending on whether we regarded them as friend or foe – was. Indeed, like fish being unaware that they thrive in the medium of water, we lived our lives assuming it was entirely natural from the beginning that our parents or carers led us. And even if later on we discover their leadership – or ‘parenting’ as it might be called – was defective or inadequate the effect on us remains profound and indelible.

This reminds me of the great Bob Dylan song from the late ‘70s, ‘You Gotta Serve Somebody’. The reality is that nobody is self-raised any more than they are self-generated; we are all contingent beings, and to follow is as natural as to lead.

But leadership is particularly important for human beings, and for one reason I want especially to point to here (do come to my talk at the Dominion to discover my take on 3 qualities of leadership you won’t find in most text books or courses on the subject). The reason is this: humans build civilisations for one primary purpose (though there are other reasons too) – to increase security, and thereby to remove doubt and uncertainty. The essence of civilisation is predictability; and the essence of life is that it is not.

So psychologically speaking people crave leadership, they intensely desire follower-ship, because strong leadership removes nagging doubts. The doubt that says in the first place: am I really secure here? And, in the second place, answers the question: why am I doing this? In other words, leadership has to confront head-on the meaning question.

Thus the third reason to attend the Showcase on the 8th September is to come and hear 6 eloquent speakers with long track records in this field provide some serious fuel to the fire of what leadership is, how it works, and how to improve it – at an individual, team and organisational level.

In the days when I was a trainer and a coach – 20 years’ worth of days in fact – I used to say to clients at the end of a session one small thing: if after today you can identify 3 learning points (from the 99 I have covered) and then focus and action those three, you will change your performance, your productivity, and possibly your life. And that is still true. There is so much to learn about leadership but I guarantee that if you attend with an open mind you will gain at least 3 actionable points that can transform your situation. Try it!

My next blog will deal with reason #4.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #2

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You will remember the first reason to attend the Astounding Leadership Insights on the 8th September at the Dominion Theatre (http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/) is people. Well, the second reason to attend is – wait for it! - people too. This time, however, in a very different capacity. The first reason was for people as energisers, as models for charisma, and for deep insights. In short, all that we can learn from other people. Now, though, I think the second reason to attend is because of people and the networking opportunities that they represent. Indeed, we all know of people who attend events for no other reasons than to meet the ‘right’ people; forget what the famous guest speaker has to say about vital world events, that is all background noise, for they are all there to meet that special someone.

Since all the speakers are business people, and if we confine ourselves to business (although many of the applications of the day will apply well beyond business – more anon), then the most obvious reason to network is to meet prospects. Of course, one needs to know who is a good prospect for one’s business. But at this event we have some truly diverse people attending; in a blog like this it would be wrong to mention names (with two exceptions: the sponsors!) but I can say from the list to date we have top people from several fields: CEOs and MDs from marketing, coaching, training, consultancy, IT, accountancy and more beside. Indeed, we have the newly appointed – on the day before the conference! – CEO of one of the most significant leadership organisations in the country along with 5 of his staff attending. Wonderful. Effectively, if you are in the services sector you are going to find someone here who will purchase something from you if ...

But let’s be clear: I personally regard turning up for events to ‘sell’ as pretty low-grade. Selling is a by-product of something much more important: in the first instance, a great relationship between two people. We need to know, like and trust someone before we do any deal of any significance. And we need to understand the important thing is adding value to somebody else’s business or life.

This leads, then, to other reasons for networking. What is important is not to attend any event with a closed mind, but to be open to all the opportunities and surprises that people invariably represent. We all can become so closed and narrow in our thinking; if only one thing – one sale – were to happen then all our problems would be solved. But true networking goes way beyond this kind of thinking.

A good example would be now to invoke the names of our two sponsors for the event who are massively relevant to any small to medium sized business owner, especially but not only if they are relatively new. We have Garry Mumford of Insight Associates (www.insightassociates.co.uk): accountants!!! What do we need them for – we’re coaches?! But Garry and his business really take accountancy to a new level; they understand that book-keeping is merely level 1, down in the shallows, and that accounting itself is merely level 2, whereby we report and analyse, but that financial management and control itself is the real deal at level 3 where finance can really support informed business decision making. If we are running a business, then the sooner we get that clear, the better. And one of the great pieces of advice for always is: get great financial, legal and IT advisers set up right from the beginning of your business – don’t wait.

Or take my friend Gary Crouch of Spectrum Office Automation (www.spectrumoa.co.uk). What does he provide? Something the older I get the more I realise is essential for the long term health of my business! As with accountancy, it is easy to stay in the shallows and fail to grow because of a limited strategic view. Well, we now are in a world where data is strategic, massively so. In fact my own company, Motivational Maps Ltd, depends for its entire existence on IP or Intellectual Property, which IP in the 11 years we have been in business has grown geometrically: from one small map, we now have 4 large ones plus an e-learning package and more stuff on the drawing boards. The question is: where is all this information/data backed-up and how secure is it? And by the way, IP is not only diagnostic formulae and algorithms, it also means at a fundamental level even client data. Backing up data is a b***er and all research indicates that most companies don’t do it well if at all. Thus, if you meet Gary at our event, although it may have been the last thing on your mind as something you needed, you will discover how he can certainly, absolutely guarantee to back-up and recover your data, usually within a very short window of time. In other words, he can get your business back on track even after the most appalling catastrophe. In reality, then, IT has become a kind of insurance, with Gary Crouch your insurer!

So networking, then, is important – for prospecting but also for exposure to new ideas and people who can be incredibly useful – indeed, life saving – for your business. That’s my second reason. Are you persuaded yet to sign up yet?

My next blog will deal with reason #3.


9 Reasons to Attend the Leadership Showcase #1

On the 8th September this year I am giving a key note talk at the Dominion Theatre. The Showcase event is called Astounding Leadership Insights – so clearly, modesty was never a quality of the organisers of the event! But that aside, and also the fact of my involvement, this seems to me – in one easy day - a great opportunity for many coaches, consultants and business leaders because the benefits are so enormous. Thus, in true Motivational Maps style, what are the 9 major benefits of attending this event:

http://www.astoundingleadershipinsights.com/ ?

The first reason is always the same: the people. We always need to be around people who have these three qualities in abundance: energy, charisma and insight. And this is because every one of us needs to work on something we do not naturally have by the time we are adults: the well-springs of energy come from the presence of those who have found out how to tap it, access it and share it.

Energy is motivation and this day is choc-a-block with the energised, or should I say, The Energised! Learn about your energy and how to harness it more effectively. All six speakers will be covering this issue directly or indirectly most of the time. Let’s face it: it’s what our life is about. No energy, no quality of life, so we need to get real about it.

But then charisma, which is essentially the same as talking about influence; this can scarcely be taught. In fact the most effective way of becoming charismatic is by modelling oneself on someone who is charismatic. That’s the start, and the challenge is then to incorporate what one learns from modelling into one’s own unique personality and style, so that one is not a clone. You will see at the Dominion Theatre – hint, the name gives something away: theatre, drama, engagement with the stage – plenty of charisma to emulate and model. There’s Ali Stewart, the liberating leader, and Bird-on-a-Bike who will transform you. It’s a commonplace of the literature, but one I have to say that I have encountered all the time in my 30+ years of speaking in public that most people, including business people, have a dread of public speaking and that’s often because they sense that they are not charismatic: would anyone want to listen to them? One reason to be at this event is to see what charisma looks like. I remember back in the late 90s or early Millenium going to see Tony Robbins at Wembley for precisely this reason, and I was not disappointed. What I learnt then – not from what he said but what he did – has stayed with me ever since.

And then there’s the real key of people: insight. In all my 21 years of consulting and coaching I noticed two things beyond all others that my clients wanted from me: to be energised, which we’ve discussed, and for insights. Yes, insights into the nature of reality, insights into how relationships work, insights into organisations and their mechanisms, and insights into business and how to make it thrive. Insights, insights, insights – yes, and not cliches, not jargon, not stereotypes and the commonplace, but insights. The kind of sight that sees ‘in’ to the nature of things and whose view, or in-view, is transformative: the client gets that a-ha moment (sorry, that is a bit of cliché!). But you get the drift of what I am saying. As a result of coaching, consultancy, training or facilitation, you end up seeing more than you did before, and this seeing enables you to envision more. Imagine that: envision more! isn’t that what leaders do?

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Ooops! Leaders – I said it – that’s the word. So, you have my first reason for being on this day with us. My next blog will deal with reason #2.


The Organisational Map and 4 Change Stoppers: # 4 Blame

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Blame is one of the triumvirate of psycho-pathologies that worst afflict human beings. If we consider briefly for a moment the story of Adam and Eve in the garden at the beginning, when they were perfect, we find in the Fall of mankind all three psycho-pathologies there in virulent form. First, they attempt to deny their guilt by hiding: denial. Second, they project their guilt onto the serpent: projection. But third, and most critically of all, Adam blames Eve and Eve blames the serpent: blame. Indeed, blame may be said to be the most endemic, the most pernicious, and the most destructive of all the psychological vices that beset mankind; it is the kingpin of all that is negative within us. Small wonder, then, it wreaks such havoc around us; and it is very difficult to counter.


One crucial aspect of why blame is such a bad thing is that - in the jargon of the personal development movement of the last 50 years - it avoids taking responsibility for what happens to us: somebody else made us do it, somebody else caused it to happen, we are not responsible for what happened because somebody or something else is to blame. It is little understood but every time we blame we are quite literally killing ourselves; there is self-death involved in blaming others, and this is for a very good reason. For when we blame others or some other factor we are denying a part of reality that has been created, and saying we are not part of that. Essentially, we are denying ourselves as co-creators of reality and denying that we accept things as they are; this is why blame is a kind of blasphemy: we are denying our god-like powers to co-create; we are foreshortening ourselves, which is a kind of death, the ultimate foreshortening. In short, we are exiting and isolating ourselves from the Consciousness that drives the universe and of which we are a part. In theological parlance: we are heading for hell; but writing in this secular state now one needs to understand hell not as a place beyond life, but as a state of mind we enter in the here and now.

Organisations, of course, because they are made up of people, blame others too. In the UK at the moment we have the unedifying spectacle of a major High Street brand, British Home Stores, going bankrupt and all the players at senior level blaming each other, and staff at lower levels blaming the senior levels, and media and politicians joining in the fun too. Noticeably we find, when blame starts, there is never any solution to the real problem, just punishment(s) which may or may not be 'just', and a trail of lessons never learnt! And this goes to the heart of what happens within organisations, especially within teams: blame destroys trust, lack of trust produces fear, fear creates paralysis, and paralysis depresses motivation, performance and productivity. And all the while this 'depression' is going on, something else is being elevated: people learn to play games, political games, and particularly the blame game. The whole organisation becomes centred around surviving the game, avoiding blame becomes the central preoccupation of every worker, every manager; while customers, sales, products and services are left floating adrift as blame stays centre stage; at least until death strikes and it's over; by which I mean, of course, from an organisational perspective, bankruptcy.

Thus, it is important to say, as we reach this 4th organisational change stopper, that as far as motivation and the nine motivators are concerned, all are equally culpable and susceptible to blaming. There is no one motivator where we can say that this is the one where blaming occurs. We can see that for the one who wants security, their own may be apparently enhanced if others are to blame; that for the one who wishes to belong, that those who do not are to blame; that for one seeking recognition, then those who withhold it must be culpable; that for the one who wants control, their failure to have enough of it, or somebody else's misuse of it, is to blame; that for one seeking money, their failure to be rewarded sufficiently is to blame; and for one wanting expertise, their teachers, coaches, trainers, mentors were simply not good enough; and then for one seeking innovation and creativity, the bores around them and the dull environment is to blame; and for those seeking freedom it is not their fault they are in a 9 to 5 job, but their merits were overlooked; and finally for those wanting to make a difference, it is obviously others failure to support them that caused the mission to fail. In all cases there is a sad litany of excuses which constitutes blaming others. As a curious sidebar to this exploration of blame, I would like to point out one of the most anomalous things I constantly encounter: atheists who blame God for their condition of non-belief! My point here being that we seem to be so constituted that we need to blame someone even when we don't believe they exist: that's how endemic, that's how deep-rooted, blame is in our psyches. If Father Christmas had only delivered that special present down the chimney in 1999, then I would not be a serial killer today!

Blame, then, is all too familiar and corrosive. By definition, considering all that has gone before, blame is something all effective leaders avoid and never use. Sidney Dekker put it this way: “Blaming people may in fact make them [people/employees] less accountable: they will tell fewer accounts, they may feel less compelled to have their voice heard, to participate in improvement efforts”. Great leaders always take personal responsibility for what has happened 'under their watch'. They also are mindful to root it out in their subordinates through training, coaching, mentoring, and most importantly of all, through example: walking the talk. Blame destroys a creative, risk-taking culture, as people people conform, lay low and play it safe; so this is especially relevant where we are dealing with Relationship type motivator organisations. Here there is already risk-aversion and a procedural mentality, so the addition of blame would destroy irreparably any chance of creative change if it were the cultural norm. So with Relationship motivators the key is a leadership style that impacts the culture, and where blame has no grip.

As I said before, blame reduces the effectiveness of the individual; subordinates harbour grudges even when blame is justified. Thus as we consider the Achievement motivators we need to realise that the focus here may be more managerial than leadership driven: the relentless focus of managers and employees needs to be on what needs to be done to attain organisational objectives, and how this needs to be done despite whatever setbacks seem poised and in the way. In short, it is a problem solving mentality within the culture that regards spending time on attributing blame as just so much a waste of time, bringing us no nearer to the results we want. Notice the difference in the potential approach to the blame problem organisationally from a dominantly Relationship motivator culture to an Achievement driven one: one has to have decisive and strong leadership, whereas the other can benefit from determined and relentless managerial focus. This is not to say of course that either motivator triad could not find the other’s approach effective; clearly, as always with Motivational Maps, context is everything.

For the third triad of motivators, the Growth motivators, and perhaps the Expert motivator might also feature here too, there needs to be a deep commitment to making mistakes because making mistakes is the most effective form of learning. The well-known cartoonist Scott Adams expressed it this way: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep". This can only happen when two things are true: first, that people, especially management, actually believe that proposition, and second when there are systems or controls in place which ensure that no catastrophic damage is done in the process. On this second point, Harvard Business School Professor, Amy Edmondson said it this way: “Small failures are the early warning signs that are vital to avoiding catastrophic failure in future”. Blame is invariably attributed because somebody has 'made a mistake', but what if we live in a culture where making a mistake is the norm, is what we expect, and indeed what we want: that the boat of exploration is truly being launched on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. So, curiously, systems in place with that end in mind is a potential antidote to this blame issue where this triad of motivators is involved. Curious, perhaps, because of course the kind of systems we are talking about here most readily appeal to the Defender or Relationship motivator at the other end of the motivational spectrum. But the same is true of the Relationship motivators requiring truly dynamic leadership (when usually they are managerially handled!), which one might tend to associate with the maverick types at the Growth end of the spectrum. Clearly, then, there is a balancing going on here at the organisational level whereby the yin of low risk motivators needs the counterbalance of the yang of high risk, and vice versa.

The account above is part of an ongoing exploration of how we understand motivation in the organisational setting; it is not definitive, and I am hoping others, as they use the Maps and experiment with the Organisational Motivational Map in real life organisations, will be able to contribute more ideas and data so that we can refine this model and so achieve the result we all want worldwide: namely, organisations which are unblocked, which can effectively change and respond to developments and events, and where, as a result of using Maps, issues such as cultural dependency, busy-busy management, isolation and blame are correctly identified and their effects mitigated if not altogether abolished. Amen to that.


Organisational Change Blocker #3: Isolation

If the first change stopper, dependency culture, is heavily related to Relationship type motivators, and the second change stopper, busy-busy management, is more relevant to Achievement motivators, then it may come as no surprise to Motivational Mappers that the third change stopper, isolation, is deeply connected to the third of the motivational triad, Growth motivators. This, when you think about it, is obvious. The central motivator sandwiched between the inner and outer limits of the Growth trio is the Spirit motivator; in other words, the desire for autonomy, and of course this is hardly a team-orientated motivator; on the contrary, it tends to produce mavericks who by their own desire sometimes want to be isolated to get on with what they wish to do. But further than this, when we consider the Creator motivator, the desire to innovate, and the Searcher motivator, the desire to be on mission, one can easily see what whilst these desires can be met collectively, there is plenty of scope for isolation: often innovation and creativity comes down to an isolated individual’s breakthrough, and oftentimes too we find that our own mission leads us away from others and we become isolated on our own path. Thus from a motivational point of view we need to consider what motivators are dominant motivators throughout the organisation, for although the Growth motivators are themselves pro-risk and pro-change, the fact that the individuals with these motivators may well be fragmented in a number of ways means that the aptitude for change may well be dissipated - the individual fragments of glass, separated and discrete, not forming one, whole unit. What I am saying here is that the very strength of the Growth motivators has the potential to become a hygiene factor, or an Achilles’ heel, to the whole organisation and the remedy for this will have to be in considering motivators that aren’t so motivating for such a group: the Relationship motivators.

There are four types of isolation: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, and each needs a separate comment. Physical isolation is easy to understand as it commonly refers to geographical isolation. Within an organisation this frequently occurs when team members are in different offices, or varying locations, which may even include being in different countries and on different continents. Modern technology seemingly does a lot to obviate this problem, but no video conferencing and webinaring - nothing really - can get over the fact that physical proximity is essential for many aspects of effective functioning, especially effective team functioning. Naturally, although I am treating them individually, it’s clear that physical isolation is a precursor for emotional, intellectual and spiritual isolation and indeed may trigger these too. But in motivational terms the physical proximity provides security, Defender motivator, and more directly, recognition, Star motivator. The need, then, that is triggered by this is to ensure if people are geographically isolated that the communication systems are in place to obviate at least some of its effects, and alongside that sufficient recognition as well. On this latter point: keep in mind, that even when people are physically working close together, it is difficult enough for anyone to feel that they get enough recognition for what they are doing. What then needs to happen when they are far apart? Thus, while it is easy for leaders to ignore implications of simple geographical layout in terms of effective communications, this is something they need to periodically do, alongside considering Reward Strategies for the Defender, Friend and Star.

Emotional isolation is, of course, even worse than physical isolation. As I said before, it can arise from physical isolation, but it can also be present in packed offices too where 10 other employees are no more than 10 feet away from you! Its causes can be many and various, including personality clashes and motivational conflicts; on the wider scale, values and culture are immensely significant. If we don’t feel we fit for any length of time, then this begins to stress us, doubts occur - is it me? - guilt arises, and the individual starts withdrawing inwardly. Clearly, the Friend motivator, the desire to belong is an antidote to this state of affairs within an organisation, except when it is the cause: the individual wants to belong, has a strong Friend motivator, but this is simply the lowest motivator of the whole organisation and this is reflected in the value statements whereby, for example, only lip-service, if any, is paid to the importance of effective teams. If Friend is the lowest motivator of the whole organisation, and strongly so, and the organisation is of sufficient size, then it will be almost certain that emotional isolation is occurring, and therefore training managers on Reward Strategies for the Friend motivator may well be a way forward.

More briefly, intellectual isolation is mission critical for an organisation - or rather impeding its mission! - when we consider what it means: it means that employees are without access to others' ideas, and this lack of ideas further means that progress is difficult and individuals become more resistant to change. The free flow and exchange of ideas is absolutely essential for any organisation that wishes to stay on top if its game and dominate its market through innovations in products, services, processes, systems and the like. The lack of interchange especially hits two motivators: the Expert and the Star. We become experts by learning from each other; if there is intellectual isolation, then this cannot happen. Further, there is a curious symbiosis in the teacher and the taught. In some way the teacher gets recognition (Star) when they teach, and in yet another way nobody has ever fully understood anything until they can teach it. Indeed, many teachers (for which read: coaches, trainers, consultants, counsellors, therapists et al) freely admit that they deliver what they deliver for it is the only way that they could learn what they needed to learn! Bizarrely, then, there is in the exchange of learning a deep and satisfying sense of recognition. We have all the experience of explaining something important to someone only to be told by them, ‘I know that already’, and the crushing sense of non-recognition that that produces. So it is that we counter intellectual isolation - and the change stopper it is - through the Expert motivator and its Reward Strategies.

Finally, spiritual isolation sounds a little recherche, and it is important to stress here that I am not talking about religious beliefs. But all psychologically healthy human beings are spiritual in the sense that they seek meaning: we are meaning machines and we interpret reality and what it means all the time. All of us, one way or another, have a paradigm explanation as to how the universe works and what our place in it is. That includes people who say, ‘Life means nothing and then you die’. That too is a spiritual belief, albeit an extremely bleak one. But my central point here is: within an organisation change stops when people are isolated from the meaning of what the organisation stands for - its core values and mission; or when they sense a misstep between what the organisation preaches and what it does; or when the key leaders don’t walk the talk. Then - spiritual isolation occurs and its effects long-term are devastating. For those familiar with Maps you will clearly see where this is going: the motivator par excellent relevant to this issue is the Searcher, the desire to make a difference, the passion for purpose, the motivator that stands for why? Why are we doing this? And the motivator that most stands for the interests of your clients and customers, and sometimes your number one customer has to be your employees. So here we have to look at the Reward Strategies for the Searcher and build into our organisational work life the big why: and the starting point is reviewing the mission and its relevance, and secondly, asking where does our quality feedback come from and how can we improve it?

 

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