Sunday, June 13, 2010

XLR8 The Passionate Leader: (G + L + F = JOY!!!)

Weekly Inspiration: You Can Do It! (click) Affirmation by Louise Hay from her 2010 calendar:

  • “I am grateful for everything in my life. The last thing I do before I drift off to sleep is to express gratitude for every experience I have had during the day.” This has been even more poignant since two people my age who I know passed away recently. Both were doing what they loved to do up to the very end. One was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last June, and because he loved to write, he created a blog to help himself and others cope with what turned out to be a terminal illness. Check it out at The second was a former champion body builder who I met at the gym and knew casually in high school. He was always helping people with their fitness, including volunteering, as a strength coach to our local high schools. He had a massive stroke in the locker room and never recovered.
  • It just makes me even more committed to the “L” in my formula: loving yourself by doing what you love to do in service of others who love what you do. I remind myself every day of what that means by reading my “happiness list” every morning when I get up and every evening before I go to bed. It is my list of a dozen things I want to bring more fully into my life every day. Thanks Jay and Max for making that a deeper experience.

XLR8 YOU!!! – An Invitation

Our Vision – for all of us to awaken to the magnificence of our limitless possibilities.

How I arrived at this statement forms the basis of my formula G + L + F = JOY!!! I suppose it started because of my own frustration over two of the most overused words in business today - engagement and empowerment. Not only was I feeling less of it, I know the people I lead felt the same. That’s because businesses think that “they need to do something” to engage or empower us. Alfie Kohn’s speech: “The ABC’s of Motivation” put it in perspective for me.

In the mid 90’s, I attended a luncheon where he spoke of his book: Punished by Rewards: “The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes.” Since being a coach was about motivating people, so I thought, I listened with great interest. He challenged contemporary thinking that while manipulating people with incentives may seem to work in the short run; they ultimately fail and even do lasting harm in the long run. Drawing from hundreds of studies, he demonstrated that people actually do inferior work when they are enticed by money, grades or incentives. The more we use artificial inducements to motivate people, the more they lose interest in what we are bribing them to do.

I took copious notes that day which I have sent to numerous people over the years. I read his book with great interest and confirmed my beliefs that current organizational practices are just another example of insanity – doing the same thing, maybe even more of it and expecting greater results. Long lasting motivation is an inside job (intrinsic)! The outside (extrinsic) motivators we can provide in organizations as leaders must be aligned with the inside motivators we discover for ourselves and encourage that discover in our people. These motivators are captured in Alfie’s ABC’s of motivation.

  • A = Autonomy. People need to be invited, not coerced. The true measure of engagement or empowerment is whether people have to or want to work there. Treat people like volunteers or they will leave. In my opinion, there is so much job hopping today because most organizational cultures stink! They still treat people like machines - making every little decision. They can budget and spend their annual salaries in their personal life but need boss approval to spend $25!

  • B = Belonging. People need to feel a part of something larger than themselves. Organizations need to provide a compelling vision, mission and values along with leadership that inspires them to follow them with integrity. More importantly, however, each individual has to figure out for themselves why they are on this planet and how their organization gives them a place to live it.

  • C = Competence. People want to be good at something. Organizations need to better match people with their skills and talents. We need to help people develop their “G” (Genius, Greatness), because we all have it inside and once discovered, developed and practiced, organizational productivity and engagement soar.

So thanks, Alfie, for this logical argument - it makes a lot of sense. I motivated me to start the XLR8 YOU!!! Leadership Excellence process with the “G” of the formula.

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