If you’ve read any of Steven Covey’s books you might remember the story of the woodcutter who, although much smaller than his competitor, felled a tree in half the time. The secret was that periodically the smaller of the two stopped his “sawing” and sharpened his saw, making him more effective than his larger more powerful counterpart. The metaphor shows us that sometimes we spend so much time producing results, “sawing,” that we forget to “sharpen our saw,” that is maintain or increase our capacity to produce results in the future.
From time to time I feel my own saw getting dull.
That usually indicates to me that I need to take a little breather, sort through some of the piles of reading that have been accumulating and figure out where exactly I want to put my energies moving forward (and what to do with all this paper I still accumulate.) The chronic rainy weather we’ve had the last few weeks here in sub-tropical Florida has helped the cause.
As I tuck some things away in the “resource” filing drawers and scan others into Evernote, I’m finding articles that intrigue me, old notes and writings, that I thought were long ago forgotten. I so enjoy the ones marked “Keepers” – notes from conferences, lectures and workshops that I’ve been privileged to attend through the years. As I scan them in to reduce the clutter, I’ve got the opportunity to sit in gratitude for all the knowledge that I absorbed along this journey.
I’m always asking myself how I can offer unique value to my clients and subscribers that is in alignment with what gives work heart and meaning to me.
So, in my habit of sharing here are a few of the “nuggets” I ran across this rainy weekend that I want to sit with and think about. Just in case you are in thinking mode too, today I’ll share three of the major themes that are surfacing here for me. Enjoy the thinking process.
Our businesses today need to be more conscious and our relationships more deliberate. Consciousness is about connectedness, a knowing that we are connected to and have impact on the other human beings we interact with on a day to day basis. Also, consciousness is bringing to mind NOT that we are separate and different, but that we are connected at the deepest level.
We do have something in common with the people we deal with, and when we look for that commonality we can really connect with another and build relationship. Relationship is what business is all about. Relationship is the foundation of loyalty. (And of course Customer Happiness and Positive Leadership are ALL about relationships.)
Appreciation is so important!
We have all become masters at criticism. We criticize ourselves, we criticize each other, we criticize the customer. Spend some time looking for things to appreciate about yourself and others. Appreciation is a quality of the heart.
Here are some of the things I appreciate about myself : my curiosity, my ability to generate ideas, my intuition, my ability to feel deeply, my determination to keep writing, my sense of humor. You get the picture -are you ready to start your own lists? (Remember to make one about appreciating your customers and employees, and then of course, you might think of actually telling them the things you appreciate about them.) When relationships are steeped in appreciation, acknowledgment, recognition and caring they thrive. Strive for at least a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative. 5:1 is even better!
“Who am I?”
No matter where I have studied this is the resounding question. Whether the topic is leadership, purpose, calling, branding or attracting the perfect customer, it’s critically important to ask this question of yourself first. How can we be authentic in the world if we don’t know who we are?
Authenticity is the first job of leadership.
A person that is authentic and on purpose has a powerful presence in the world, and a profound effect on others. Who are you? How do you show up in the world?
That is my place of inquiry now.
Who am I when I am at my best? What are my strengths and how can I best use them to serve others and take good care of myself? What are the things I need to learn to grow in the direction I want to grow?
Join me in this wonderful inquiry and let these questions sit with you too. Leaders must always be asking the questions of themselves first before asking them of others. Here’s one more question for you. Are you a Positive Energizer?
If you’ve studied with me for a while you might just remember the key question I leave for my leaders to ask themselves daily. “How can I create value?” and in their weekly review “How did I create value this week?” How did you?
Have a thought-full day,