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In the purpose-driven space, sustainability is a catch-all phrase for planetary, social, environmental, and economic well-being in communities, nations, and in the world. But how many in this space are actually financially and organizationally sustainable?
Doing good, being good is a good mission. But being good but not being smart is deadly and bordering on hypocrisy. To become a truly sustainable force in the world, your organization must walk the talk and talk the walk.
One organization is a one-funder business model. Another one has one staff and hundreds of volunteers trying to get to another impact goal. Another organization is penny-pinching on much-needed reorganization costs just because the Board didn't think they need it. Another one is simply mired with employee issues that do not reflect well on their values statements.
In this circuit, the holier-than-thou attitude is almost always invoked. Yet, this complacent, self-congratulation is partly the reason for why the same sector proclaiming sustainability isn't sustainable either.
Best practices are out there. When corporates and profit-seeking ventures are hit hard on sustainability, the sector must face the same music and should be held accountable for it.
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A lot of executives and managers in on-purpose organizations are too much of a care-taker to become real leaders in their organizations and networks. As Drucker said, too much fire-fighting and problem-solving will elide your impact as a leader to become more strategic and effective.
This care-taking habit stems from their personal and organizational ideation that to be a great leader is to be all at all costs. When pressure mounts. the care-taking role is inadequate, at best palliative. Great leaders are able to bring out diverse skills, competencies, and responses that correspond best to diverse situations.
How do you transfer all your talents, skills, and empathy from a care-taking role to successfully leading your team?
1. Delegate and empower your team to make effective judgement calls and be accountable for them.
2. Say no to being the fount of all knowledge pertaining to your organization and its day-to-day functioning. Share all the information and go home on time.
3. Elevate to leading by demonstrating effective management techniques and influencing and building a good company culture. Stay off from the mundane and other practical issues that's not worthy of your executive time nor energy.
You will never be regarded as a leader if you will remain in a care-taking capacity with all your steam lost in the labyrinth of everyday issues. Being a leader, is leading now and taking charge with the future with strategic thinking and managing. Don't be the superhero that's not needed at all!
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I hear from a lot of managers how their organizations want to achieve too much with a fraction of its real costs and get staff to do more than they can possibly accomplish.
The disease-to-overachieve that permeates in many organizational cultures is strong where the need is irrational leading to unhealthy decision options. Manager complain of longer work hours, additional responsibilities without supports, resources, and systems alignment, and expectations to be easy on the budget.
Overachievement comes from fear.
Fear of not measuring up;
Fear of failure;
Fear of being not being seen as a strong and viable entity;
Fear of not being on par with your constituencies and networks;
This fear is overcompensated by absorbing too much, too soon, and with too little. Scope creep becomes an accepted norm. Resisting this in a culture where more is great is near suicidal and would cost a career loss.
I heard some time ago from a local town person that their local township is trying to be what it's not. People in the inside can't see this clearly.
If you're caught up in the whirlwind of overachievement, ask your leaders, the following questions:
1. What exactly they want to remove off your plate so you can get things done on more important things?
2. What supports and resources are available right now to achieve these goals?
3. What goals are good-to-have and what are the musts?
4. What activities generate the best outcomes?
These questions can lead to more realization and quite frankly, a light in the tunnel.
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I just said today that ethics trumps talent in a class.
One said, "so it's okay to hire mediocre but good people in your organization.'
Talent is so overrated and that hiring managers are beginning to look at not just the 'soft side' of competence but the overall adaptability and mindset of the person they are looking to hire.
At the end of the day, the worst corporate scandals are committed by people who are have no qualms circumventing the laws of the land to suit their motives and agenda.
This is not a zero-sum game either. There has been a shift towards hiring employees who do not have the perfect CV or educational background but have the right mental, emotional, and intellectual fitness for long-term growth. Good enough is better than someone that can't be trusted to make major decisions for the company, whose integrity is questionable or consistency suspect.
At the end of the day, when ethical dilemmas arise in the workplace, which always happen, in micro or macro way, we hope and pray that the one making the decision has the moral and ethical code he/she lives by daily. We hope that our HR managers can stand up for what's right in a given situation. We hope that our executives truly exhibit transformative leadership.
Ethics is the cornerstone in our businesses and organizations. It's the rudder in a turbulent, volatile and ambiguous world we live in. It's the compass, without which we will become a civilization without a heart and soul.
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Lately in a coaching conversation, I learned that applying a COVID19 lens as an intentional approach to planning, decision-making, and resources allocation is not only safe but strategic.
Given that majority of the world is still battling the third wave, dangerous variants have weakened and collapsed many health care systems in the developing countries, and developed countries have yet to pick up the pieces of their lives and economies- COVID19 will not go away just as it came.
The COVID19 lens should be used beyond the pandemic and the virus transmission. It's about reconstruction, restoration, and healing of societies and economies. It's also about getting back to the root causes that alienate us from our environment, community, and self-sustainability. I heard that those people who recover from COVID19 had after-effects felt for months and years.
These are facts we are grappling today:
How can the whole society recover from mental health issues, depression, and isolation? How can we recover from deaths of family, friends, neighbors, officemates due to COVID19?
How can we recover from suicides of people close to us who died because of COVID19 isolation?
How can we recover our businesses from taking a nose dive due to lockdowns and travel/mobility restrictions?
How can we recover from deaths that are not COVID19 because the health care systems refuse to treat emergency surgeries?
These are not irrecoverable or irreparable but they do leave lasting impacts that will take years to completely undo.
On a positive note, this virus will never be back again. On a more realistic note, we will have to face more diseases, deadlier than this one unless we get better at monitoring, testing, rules and policy enforcements, and cooperation.
How are you operating your organization through the COVID19 lens and beyond? Are you ready for the slow but sure emergence in the horizon?
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Organizations with individuals who are full of egos are heading towards an internal sabotage, if not abated.
These individuals who have talent but lack empathy and self-awareness, no matter how valuable they are in the organization are running on a limited bandwidth.
When push comes to shove, their talent can't be depended on when a serious adjustments and adaptations are required from everyone in the organization.
When strategic thinking is required, they tend to reason out why things can't be done in the organization versus having a mindset of openness and flexibility.
Misaligned teams and Boards do not ever accomplish more than they intend to do. They can be the proverbial 'stumbling block' to serious attempt at steering the organization to a better direction.
If there are too many fragile egos in the room, prepare to use more than fair share of wisdom and insight.
You need an expert strategy advisor to help you navigate the politics in your organization.
Let me help you get to where you want to go.
Convert selfish egos to productive work.
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When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Change efforts go by the wayside if there's not enough urgency within the organization
to ensure that it will be given an undivided attention and resources it needs. Moving the strategic priorities into implementation requires consistent and constant pressure from management that understands strategic management.
85% of strategic plans do not get implemented. When the rubber hits the road, the tendency is to focus on the day-t0-day mundane issues, relegating the higher objectives into the backburner. This stop-and-go scenario will delay your progress and unconsciously reward inventing obstacles.
Managers and leaders- stop treating all crisis as equal. You should know how to treat priorities as real priorities, or your employees will not believe another memo with an urgent stamp.
It's not what they hear, it's what they see in action that gets believed.
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Politicians travelling during the holidays set very bad examples. If they can't heed the directive, then how are we, ordinary mortals can believe these leaders every time they open their mouths and make another directive.
If your organization says something else, but no one believes it, you are inviting a cognitive dissonance. What you do is far more effective than what is said in the memos or in talk in the cafeteria halls and weekly meetings.
I was once in a meeting where the supervisor once said, "Be thankful that you have a job." This was after hearing what we think about the current state of uncertainty gripping the whole organization in terms of budget cuts, staff lay-offs, and internal conflicts.
It's like the blind leading the blind. You can't get any assurance or clarity from someone who doesn't and couldn't lead.
Well, she wasn't able to stay for another term.
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Tired of wearing mask? I hear you.
I was talking to a colleague from Australia last week.
She said that in her country, they are required to wear mask everywhere at a 250+ rate of new infections a day. While I said, I was driving by a lake last week for a presentation, people are enjoying every inch of the beach space. No mask at all.
There is a dissonance between what the public health authorities are asking everyone to do and what people are doing otherwise. People go to the beaches, enjoy public events and restaurants, avail of health services, and outdoor sports and recreations, like they used to.
The fatigue in keeping the rules of social distancing and wearing masks is a social phenomenon. There is a certain limit to how far the public can keep up with restrictions in the name of collective public safety, health, and well-being. The social deviance is a response to this but there are deeper factors at play.
It is beginning to show that individual registers to risks and rewards are very different and sometimes, antithetical to the establishment. In fact, I would surmise that instead of being able to curb out deviant behaviors through fines and penalties, it will rise up as force to reckon with.
How much of what is perceived are purveyors of real risks? How much is pure fluff and can be dismissed as overreaction?
Perception is reality. Perception is the only real thing.
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Today, the diminishing practice of a gentleman's agreement or people's agreement if we have to be more inclusive in our language is concerning.
The other day, my husband is collecting his fees from a client and the client promised to pay him the balance he owed. Today, he told me that that promise is not a sure thing. It can change on daily basis. The person is not to be trusted on his words, because his actions do not suggest trust.
Sad to say, that a lot of people do not get to understand that their words carry a lot of weight. When they say it, they should be able to deliver based on those words spoken as part of 'palabra de honor'- word of honor. Of course, conditions are set for those commitments to be delivered.
How many people in this generation can actually say with a straight face that they practice that in their daily business and life. You are what you commit yourself verbally.
There is a moment that decisions and commitments must be made after weighing in on considerations and options. Then, it is time to execute them in order to transform commitments to real gains. Without integrity, institutions and organizations will fall and fail on the basis of their omissions that hurt in the long run.