Motivation Story | Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, is home to an amazing collection of giraffes, seventeen in total. During a recent tour, my daughter & I noticed most of the giraffes were outside. Our tour guide Amy showed us the giraffe’s indoor facility where a training, or enrichment environment was set up. Four of the giraffes were here, performing specific, positive tasks for the trainer, and afterward were rewarded with food. 

Here’s the interesting part - the giraffes preferred choosing to successfully perform the enrichment task for the food rather than just have the food available to them.

My thoughts turned to Dan Pink’s insightful book, Drive, and some of his key findings. He found that once people are compensated enough to begin thinking about the work they are performing rather than the money, three fundamental motivators emerge: Autonomy, mastery and purpose. 

Think about that, especially if you don’t regularly coach those who you are responsible for.

Do you regularly remind your team of their purpose, and your organization’s purpose? Do you also encourage an environment where people can make choices and regularly improve themselves?  Motivation comes from autonomy, mastery & purpose.

Episode 8 | Interview with retired Motorola Senior Vice President Durrell Hillis

Choinquecast eight showcases one of the finest examples of leadership, program management, and innovation you may not know about. Durrell Hillis had responsibility for the research, design, and development of advanced communication and electronic systems for a host of domestic and international commercial users, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and a variety of other local and national government agencies.  

Our choinquecast focuses on the story of the IRIDIUM® global satellite telecommunications system, as told in Durrell’s book Creating Iridium.

Durrell is or has served as a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership, Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign Cabinet, the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Scottsdale, Arizona State University Engineering Dean's Advisory Council, and numerous other roles. He is also a very dear personal friend and colleague.

Leadership Story | Leaders Set Expectations

During the second of three coaching sessions following an Academy Leadership Excellence Course, a client in a highly technical profession critical to national defense shared an uncomfortable decision made since our first coaching call. Turns out the client fired a team member, who was described in our initial discussion as a “challenge employee.” Chances are you may have a similar term for someone at your workplace.

While sharing the history leading to this event, the client revealed that performance issues were allowed to fester. Because substandard performance was tolerated, others team members were eventually asked to backfill work not being completed. Toward the end, the client attempted to highlight the mission critical nature of the work, but in the end it was too little too late. 

This is one of many typical situations a Personal Leadership Philosophy is meant to preemptively address. Recall, an effective Personal Leadership Philosophy includes:

What leadership means to each of us
Our personal values
Operating principles
Expectations
Non-negotiables
Priorities
Personal idiosyncrasies
Commitment to receive feedback for our own growth as a leader

This was a powerful coaching session. The client realized expectations were not properly set and agreed-upon at the time of hiring, and ultimately the entire team was affected. While priorities were eventually communicated, recovery was no longer practical. Rather than point fingers or make excuses, the client realized a leadership responsibility had been missed. He is now actively sharing his leadership philosophy, and has already received positive feedback afterward.

Does this story sound familiar? It probably does. Remember, our leadership philosophy allows for continuously improving individual, team and organizational performance. Leaders set expectations.

Episode 7 - Interview with HGTV Co-founder Susan Packard

For choinquecast seven we connect with Susan Packard, who helped to build powerhouse media brands like HBO, CNBC, and HGTV. She was the co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive and former chief operating officer of HGTV. Under Packard’s helm, HGTV became one of the fastest growing cable networks in television history. Today HGTV is available in more than 98 million U.S.homes and distributed in over 200 countries and territories. She is also the author of New Rules of the Game - 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.

Susan now writes, speaks, and works with women in all stages of life, at for-profit and not-for-profit companies.

Coaching Story | Leadership Means Connecting

In a recent coaching session following an Academy Leadership Excellence Course, a client in the construction industry shared his action plan progress. One of his documented leadership lessons was: “I have no idea if the people on my team are motivated and need to get to know them better through some motivation assessments that will allow me to understand them better.”

The client then described a particular “sit down session” with a staff member who had been working in the office as a Project Engineer. The Project Engineer had not been very effective in this role working in an administrative setting. So the engineer was moved into a superintendent role working in the field.

The client immediately noticed several things: One, that his new superintendent is a really good speaker. And very intelligent. The client could readily foresee a senior superintendent development path including greatly improving project interviews among other responsibilities. The superintendent told the client “This was the first time anyone ever sat down with me and asked what I wanted to do.”

Ponder that. The now highly effective and motivated superintendent has been in the general contractor business for about 15 years, and perhaps 20-25 years when including prior carpenter work. Imagine what can be done with periodic 90 minute “sit down,” or performance coaching sessions with everyone on your team. Leadership means connecting.

Episode 6 - Interview with “Work Simply” author Carson Tate

Our sixth choinquecast kick-starts our productivity with Carson Tate, creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® and the Work Smarter, Not Harder program. Carson is an internationally-renowned productivity expert and coach with strategies featured in top-tier business media including Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS Money Watch, Fast Company, Forbes, The New York Times, Shape, USA Today and Working Mother.

What energizes Carson most is the unique privilege and opportunity to coach clients in the art of reclaiming their lives and finding the time, space and freedom to create a life that allows them to work simply AND live fully.

Leadership Story | Leadership Produces Results

While recently journaling and reading over Thanksgiving in the Galapagos Islands my thoughts turned to recent Leadership Excellence Course attendees who described performance issues within their organizations. Specifically, some of them asked "How do I get people on my team, who don't work directly for me, to get more done?"

As leaders, rather than just managers, we should strive to create alignment & common purpose. About the same time, I was reading a blog by Victor Davis Hanson, referencing his new book The Second World Wars. The productivity surge in the U.S. from 1941 to 1945 was mind-boggling. In Dr. Hanson's words:

The generation that came of age in the 1940s had survived the poverty of the Great Depression to win a global war that cost 60 million lives, while participating in the most profound economic and technological transformation in human history as a once rural America metamorphosed into a largely urban and suburban culture of vast wealth and leisure.

Their achievement from 1941 to 1945 remains unprecedented. The United States on the eve of World War II had an army smaller than Portugal’s. It finished the conflict with a global navy larger than all of the fleets of the world put together. By 1945, America had a GDP equal to those of Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, and the British Empire combined. With a population 50 million people smaller than that of the USSR, the United States fielded a military of roughly the same size.

America almost uniquely fought at once in the Pacific, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe, on and beneath the seas, in the skies, and on land. On the eve of the war, America’s military and political leaders, still traumatized by the Great Depression, fought bitterly over modest military appropriations, unsure of whether the country could afford even a single additional aircraft carrier or another small squadron of B-17s. Yet four years later, civilians had built 120 carriers of various types and were producing a B-24 bomber at the rate of one an hour at the Willow Run factory in Michigan. Such vast changes are still difficult to appreciate.

So, are our jobs today really so difficult? Perhaps we have relaxed about what is possible on a national, organizational, and especially, individual leadership level. Pause and think about the environment we are genuinely capable of creating and aligning our teams with our boldest visions and goals. Great leadership produces great results.

Episode 5 - Interview with “Conscious Communications” author Mary Shores

Our fifth choinquecast takes us on a powerful journey of positive personal transformation with Mary Shores. She is the author of Conscious Communications: A Step-by-Step Guide to Harnessing the Power of Your Words to Change Your Mind, Your Choices, and Your Life. Mary is a recognized leader of innovative thought, and has spent over a decade teaching businesses and individuals how to identify their goals, create new ways of thinking, and take action to create meaningful results. 

Coaching Story | Never Stop Leading

How many of you are looking forward to retirement? Or just wondering what’s next?

In a recent coaching session with a highly educated scientist near the end of his career, he mentioned that he wants the freedom to explore stuff on his own time & further if he had to live life over again he would go into the State Department and help our country overseas.

Keep in mind my scientist colleague is a deep thinker. He thought deeply when composing his leadership philosophy during our Academy Leadership workshops. Shortly after the course his new company president spoke about her values, and he told me how it reminded him of our recent sessions.

So I had to ask him: Why not apply your leadership philosophy to your retirement? Or, go further and approach the State Department and let them know part of living your leadership philosophy is helping others. Not as a full-time job, but as a way of both exploring new things and helping others.

Think about it. It’s always a good time to lead.

Episode 4 - Interview with “step up” author Michelle Gibbings

Our fourth choinquecast persuasively argues that finding our purpose and happiness first leads to success, rather than the opposite. Distinguished keynote speaker, advisor, facilitator and executive mentor across the Asia-Pacific region and author of “step upMichelle Gibbings shares her personal discovery that being known for getting things done, often by leaving her comfort zone, is far more important than being the best at just one thing.

Episode 3 - Interview with "The New IT" author Jill Dyché

Our third choinquecast reminds us that corporate purpose is more significant than corporate goals. Vice President of Best Practices for SAS and author Jill Dyché shares her stories from “The New IT,” written for the IT professional who wishes to connect with their overall enterprise and for the executive who wishes to understand what innovation looks like within their corporate culture.