Back in August, I attended the 2019 Global Leadership Summit and I said that I would follow up with a summary of the leadership tips that I picked up during the event. While there was so much great content, I’m only able to pick my key takeaways and share them with you in a handful of shorter episodes over the next several weeks. Each episode contains tips that you can put to use immediately. This is Part Two.
The takeaways from this second episode come from Danielle Strickland. If you don’t know who Danielle is, she is a pastor, author, and justice advocate. Having spent 22 years as an officer in the Salvation Army, she is an Ambassador for Stop The Traffik. Her calling is to empower people to transform the world.
Leaders Don’t Just Survive Change
I’ve heard Danielle speak several times and she always brings a powerful principle. This session of the Global Leadership Summit was no different! She led with this: leaders don’t just survive change – they thrive in change.
Think about the difference. Imagine this: you run towards what others fear. If it causes the crowd to panic, you grab control. Can you recall a time when you stepped up or into what others had abandoned? In my opinion, change is often responsible for driving away those who are more comfortable managing than leading.
Your Life Is Like A Tree
There are so many analogies that others use to give us a different perspective on life. Danielle says that our life is a lot like a tree, specifically, it’s like a fruit tree. I’ve always liked this particular analogy because it requires examination.
I want to take a quick aside here. If you are a great leader, you understand the value of not just introspection, but also extrospection. They are important because they impact the point that Danielle is making. Do you regularly take time to think about you?
Introspection is understanding my emotions, circumstances, and cumulative knowledge. Extrospection would be knowing how this will impact my reaction (potential or actual) to events. As a result, you can think of the combination of these two factors as the reflection that allows you to evaluate why you do/feel what you do/feel. Furthermore, this enables you to see the proverbial writing on the wall and alter undesired behavior before it occurs.
Inspect Your Fruit
So, Danielle says that we must confront bad tasting fruit on our tree. She goes on to say that our actions produce the fruit. Fair enough. But where do the actions come from? Our values. Because our values are connected to our behavior, she says that we have to look at our roots to understand our values.
Where are the roots? Most of the time, they are hidden from view and underground. We have a tree in our front yard that is a little more than a year old. When they planted that tree, they put a post for support. But you don’t leave that post in the ground indefinitely, do you?! No! Why? Because if you do, the roots won’t go deep and allow the tree to not only grow, but to stand in adverse conditions.
Danielle describes our roots as deeply held beliefs that feed our tree. Now if you have bad fruit, what do you think that means? Obviously, you better take a look at your roots. What do you believe? Why do you believe that?
Similar to the point Danielle is making, Gandhi once said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”Mahatma Gandhi
On The Way To Better Tasting Fruit
She says that we must expose those deeply held beliefs to light and truth. Can they stand up against what is right, honorable, and productive? Or, instead, are they found to be selfish and damaging to self and others?
You can change what you think and believe. This, in turn, will then change your thoughts and actions. And if your actions and values change, then so does your destiny. Walla! Better testing fruit! We all know that this is not easy, simple, or fast. It’s hard work to change what you think/believe…and absolutely necessary.
Danielle says that your productivity depends on what you believe about yourself. Therefore, the key to improving your productivity is evaluating where you need to change. If you are resistant to change, then you are going to have difficulty improving your productivity.
Change: A No-man’s Land
She explains why it’s so hard for us to entertain change. Change is like a no-man’s land. You’ve left what you’ve known, but you also haven’t arrived where you are going. I really resonated with this idea. You can’t stay where you’re at, so you embark on a journey of indeterminate length to a new destination!
Here’s the process that Danielle utilizes to describe this transition. She says every change starts with a movement from stability to instability. This period is full of unsettled and disturbing feelings that result in fear. Next, we move from fear back to instability and then to stability again.
Disruption Is Not A Threat
She says that disruption is not a threat. It’s simply an invitation to new normals. And if there’s only one thing you remember from today’s episode, I want you to remember this: there is no change to the future if you don’t disrupt the present. Because of this, my encouragement to you today is that you embrace disruption!
Next week, I’ll be sharing what I learned from Patrick Lencioni. So don’t miss that – you definitely want to hear this one. Until then, go embrace some disruption!
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Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!