Blog

To subscribe to The Leadership Sanctuary Blog, click the RSS setting above to add us to your feed reader or news aggregator. For more about how to use RSS feed see:
Introduction to RSS
Add an RSS feed to Outlook 2007
Add an RSS feed to Windows Internet Explorer 7
Add an RSS feed to your Personalized Google Home Page
How to use RSS feeds on your Mac
  • 13 Dec 2013 11:50 AM | Deleted user
    This time of year is ideal for reflection. Even though we’re busy with holiday parties, gift giving and end-of-the-year planning and travel, our routines are shifted, our priorities tested and the new year of fresh starts beckons.  
    What's important?
    How am I doing?
    What do I need/want to change?
    What can I stay grounded and focused?
    How can I find calm, clarity and focus in times of overwhelm?
    By having a declaration.
     
    What is a Declaration?
    In The Leadership Sanctuary, we ask leaders to make a declaration or commitment to hold themselves to throughout the 10 month program. These declarations are:
    • A commitment to a future possibility.
    • A critical skill of leadership. Whether we are referring to leading our own life or leading others, leaders set a vision for the future and express it in a way that galvanizes and motivates others.
      Think about the American Declaration of Independence.  When it was written, it described a future that did not yet exist.  Without this declaration the democratic system we now live in would not have come to reality. Or, Martin Luther King’s  “I have a dream” speech.
    • Concrete conditions of success, practices, committed listener and/or customer, action steps, etc. Not a hope, wishful thinking, proclamation, or fantasy.
    Ask yourself, "What within me wants to be realized?  What is it that I am committed to bring to life/ be/ do?  What vision do I have?

    A strong way to frame a declaration is to say, “I am committed to….”
     
    Examples of Declarations:
    • I am committed to creating a sustainable environment in my neighborhood.
    • I am committed to ensuring our middle school is recognized nationally for curriculum.
    • I am committed to merging with a similar organization to create sustainable after school program in my ward.
    Why Have Declarations?
    A declaration is a guiding force.
    An anchor when we’ re being pulled off course.
    A tool for maintaining focus and setting boundaries.

    As leaders when we have a clear commitment, we stand up physically and emotionally with more conviction and confidence.


      Nelson Mandela

    Putting Declarations to Work
    Speaking a declaration can be a powerful experience, especially if you let your supporters know about it. It can be exhilarating and freeing to some and scary for others. Either way, action is required and daily practice is the best way to bring a declaration to life.

    Once you have a declaration, try repeating it out loud daily for at least 45 days and experience how it influences your day. Check in with whether your body and breath is aligned with your thoughts. If not, ask yourself what needs to change in order to find that alignment.
     
    Try making a declaration this holiday season – one that will serve you in coming months – and see how you feel.

    If it’s a commitment to drinking more eggnog, enjoy!

    We toast you this holiday season!

  • 15 Oct 2013 9:11 PM | Deleted user
    Which of the following requests is most likely to result in the least amount of time and energy spent? 
    • Would you look at movies for this weekend and let me know which ones you want to see? 
    • Would you look at the movie listings for this coming Saturday and let me know which ones you want to see?
    • Would you look at the movie listings for this coming Saturday matinee and let me know by Wednesday no later than 9pm which ones you want to see?
    We make requests constantly of our staff, our board, our family and even of friends as we are in a constant state of asking questions and getting answers. We start with an intention, (going to the movies with a friend), set of criteria (needs to be Saturday afternoon and to know by Wednesday night) and a clear set of expectations.



    Yet, most of us fail miserably at this practice.

    Why? 
    • Our request is too broad or “clumped” in with several requests.
    • We assume that the request is clear and understood, without checking in, to see if this is true or if it is creating a welcome environment for questions.
    • The fit between the request and the conditions for meeting that request is not adequately assessed. 
    The Broad or “Clumped” Request:
    “Can you make sure the Board has the materials from our last meeting?”
    This request is broad and clumps several tasks together and leaves indicators of success open for interpretation. This can create a risk of not meeting expectations of all involved as well as a perception of failure unnecessarily. 

    A more effective request would be:
    Please email the Executive Board members today by COB the minutes from the last meeting plus the memo dated October 1st, 2013 regarding our Capitol Campaign. CC me on the email. If you have any questions please let me know by 2pm as I will be out of the office after that. Thank you!

    Not Creating Conditions for Partnership:
    A clear and detailed request is only as clear as it is received. If we don’t take the time to check in to determine if the request is clear enough -- our efforts might as well be spent knitting. Even more important, if we don’t create conditions where check-in is welcome, then everyone loses.

    After making a request, leave time for inquiry and even “stupid” questions as it’s possible that what you perceive as stupid or petty might be your own struggle with detail which is why you hired this detailed person to support you in the first place!

    Failing to Assess Capability:
    In many cases, we fire requests without spending time (spend more time on our request than on) assessing the capabilities of others to fulfill it. A host of factors like mood, team dynamics and self-confidence can weigh in beyond the practical skills needed. If we don’t take time to listen for and consider these factors, we may be missing an opportunity for taking care of more than, what we think is just a, (our) simple request. 

  • 06 Sep 2013 4:54 PM | Deleted user
    Being the Executive Director of a nonprofit can be so challenging that many of us wonder why we do it.

    For the money?
    For the prestige?
    For the mission?

    Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, believes that most of us thrive in our work when we see constant progress and feel a sense of purpose. Here is his Ted Talk on the subject.

    What do you think?


  • 29 Aug 2013 2:44 PM | Deleted user
    Our body language broadcasts more quickly and effectively how we feel or think than most of us like to admit.

    If we glance at our watch or phone during a conversation it says something. If we answer a call during a meeting it says something. If we don't show up on time, its says something. If we come into an interview with shoulders hunched its says something. 

    As leaders, how we stand up and show up physically is as important as our title, our thinking and our network. The following video by Amy Cuddy offers some valuable insights how our body language shapes who we are and what we can do to influence outcomes.  





  • 23 Jul 2013 12:45 PM | Deleted user

    When we hear the word “sanctuary” we often think of places. Churches, temples, mosques, or reserved areas like those preserved to protect wild animals. In these places we expect there to be quiet, light, perhaps physical objects or spaces that encourage contemplation and reflection. We also expect refuge.

    What if we could have similar expectations of sanctuary in ourselves? What if our own mind and body were considered places of refuge? What if we were able to retreat to this “place” at any time where we could access quiet, light, reflection and contemplation?
     
    In the fray of everyday life, we all have this option. As leaders, when we open the door to sanctuary we lead with more clarity.  We lead with intention. We lead by listening and hearing better. We lead by having a practice and a place to come back to. We do this by stopping, accessing our breath and scanning our minds and bodies to check in with where we are. We take time to refocus. We reflect on what we're feeling and thinking and how our beliefs align with the facts.

    Then, if we're ready, we can continue forward knowing that the door is always open.
  • 05 Dec 2012 10:51 AM | Deleted user
    This time of year pulls us into a vortex of activity, emotion and demands. Added to the daily routines of life, are expectations of holiday cheer, giving lists, end of year giving and family dynamics to name a few. Finding a time of quiet reflection seems almost as remote as seeing Santa fly across the winter skies.

    Yet giving yourself the gift of reflection now and as a regular practice moving forward could be one of the most rewarding and gifts of all.

    In The Leadership Sanctuary we take this time to reflect -- to set or revisit our personal commitment as a leader, to close our eyes and to notice what our bodies are telling us.  Are we anxious? Are we tired or energized? Are we feeling hopeful or discouraged? Frustrated or peaceful. Are we holding our shoulders or jaw tightly? Simply acknowledge and then let it go or sit with it instead of brushing past it or reasoning your way out of it.

    If you don't have this venue, set aside some time in your day for a practice of reflection.  Take five minutes in the morning behind a closed office door before a busy day of meetings or 10-15 minutes at home in a quiet room before jumping into family life.

    This is your practice and a treasured gift that will show it's benefits in spades.
  • 25 Oct 2012 12:36 PM | Deleted user
    “You are crabby today!”
    “Bob is a bully.”
    “Janet is so smart.”

    We make assessments all the time. Our judgments, beliefs, experiences and opinions inform these assessments and guide our actions. We make assessments about others and others make them about us. To test this, take a quick minute to reflect on what pops up when you read this article. An encounter this morning as you left the house? I thought about a coworker? Now that you have that thought, what aspect of the situation was an assessment – what you interpreted – vs. how much is based in fact?

    Untangling the differences can be harder than you think!

    As leaders, we can quickly get pulled into by our assessments before we have all the facts. When a staff member approaches with complaints about a coworker, are you taking the time to ask enough clarifying questions and hear all sides? This thoughtful leadership will be appreciated by all and show positive results quickly.

    Next time you find yourself reacting, slow down and determine if its facts or beliefs that are guiding your actions.

  • 16 Aug 2012 3:18 PM | Deleted user
    Change is inevitable. It is dynamic. Whenever we feel settled, change comes along whether we like it or not. Some fight it. Others try to control it.
        
    In The Leadership Sanctuary we talk about the “Arc of Change” – a term used by the Strozzi Institute. In this context, we recognize that change and how we adapt to it is a full body experience. We change shape in essence, moving through the emotional and physical reactions to being uncomfortable, dealing with conflict or fear, noticing what “grabs” us and knocks us off center. In the end, we see growth. We see that change pushes us through transformations and transitions. And, though challenging and not always welcome, this change can be transformative and, ultimately, a central feature of leadership practice.


  • 26 Jul 2012 2:00 PM | Deleted user
    We make requests all the time. Sometimes they’re obvious.
    “Can you take out the garbage tonight?
    “Can you pick up the kids after school tomorrow?”


    Sometimes they’re not so obvious.
    “We need a stronger social media presence.”
    “The dishwasher is broken.”


    The second set is more like statements or observations. When made in the presence of others, questions come up as to what next.
    “What does a stronger media presence mean?”
    “Do you want me to call the plumber?”


    Effective leaders make requests clearly and with intention. They may begin with an observation but eventually get to action they either take or delegate. However, even the best of us get tripped up in the process. Why? Because we’re:

    •    Rushing.
    •    Assuming the requirements for success are clear.
    (Pick the kids up at 3:30 pm sharp. If you are 3 minutes late they charge you. Pick them up in the front by the main doors.)
    •    Don’t know all the details ourselves.
    •    Feel badly asking someone to do something for us.
    •    Not clear what is needed ourselves.

    Next time you make a request, check in with the person who you are making a request of to see if it is clear. Exercise patience. Chances are the one short on clarity is you!




  • 24 Jul 2012 11:17 AM | Deleted user
    When was the last time you stopped to reflect? Playing a game on your smartphone, washing dishes at the kitchen sink or lying in bed at night thinking through tomorrow's agenda doesn't count. We're talking about dedicated, uninterrupted time to listen, feel, observe and even smell the world around you.
     
    As leaders, time to reflect in ways that truly help us refocus, restart and renew are rare. “I never have time to think!” says one TLS participant. She relishes the opportunity The Sanctuary gives her to reflect on where she is today in a way that is constructive and helpful. “We get to bring in a case studies to work through in our cohort meetings. We lay out the basic challenge and our peers get to ask probing questions without giving advice. Leaders experience pivotal moments of clarity, acceptance and resolve. Its more because they feel the support of the group, the understanding and confidence, and the trust than it is that a problem has been solved."

    Reflection has power not just for us but also for those around us as this poem by William Butler Yates writes eloquently:

    From Earth, Fire and Water
    We can make our minds so like still water
    that beings gather about us that they may see,
    it may be, their own images,
    and so live for a moment with a clearer,
    perhaps even with a fiercer life
    because of a our quiet.
 © 2018 The Leadership Sanctuary
Loading

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software