Archive for leadership presence

Get Moving! Part 2: A Simple Model

In my last blog post (which you can read here) I revealed my oft-used habit of “counting loose change,” my term for procrastination (or, as I like to think of it, “the art of not doing what I should be doing when I should be doing it but don’t want to”). In that post I offered up four simple ideas for how to quickly prioritize your time.

Sometimes, though, there’s simply more to manage than a few simple guidelines can handle.  Perhaps your work to-do’s and your home to-do’s have started overlapping and you’ve found yourself (as I sometimes do) working on a Sunday morning to finish a report or missing an evening dinner with my husband because I’m on a conference call. Or perhaps you’re suddenly faced with a burst of emergencies that only you can handle.

When that starts to happen I often lean on a model I learned several years back.  It’s a simple four-box matrix developed by Steven Covey that addresses a way to manage to-do’s and discern what is urgent, important or trivial.  (He outlines the model quite well in his book, First Things First.)

Covey’s quad-graph provides guidance and language for determining where your time goes by having the reader place tasks in one of four buckets:

  • Urgent/Important – those things that are at crisis mode or deadline-driven,
  • Not urgent/Important – those things that fall into leading, planning, relationship-building and empowerment,
  • Urgent/Not important –those nagging little things that feel like word balloons on the old VH-1 show “Pop-up Videos” — interruptions, some phone calls, some emails, many popular activities (I’d much rather be doing that!) and most of the so-called “pressing matters,” and, finally,
  • Not important/Not urgent – trivia, busy-work, junk mail, some phone calls, and escape-luring, counting-loose-change activities.

And, if you think nothing will ever end up in the Not important/Not urgent bucket, my guess is you’ll be very surprised at how much actually lands there.  Go ahead; try it.  Then let me know what you find out.  My guess is that—like me—you may have spent a bit more time than you’d like counting loose change!

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What Would Love Do?

I was delighted to learn this question while attending Georgetown’s coaching certification program a couple of years ago.  The simplicity of the question gets to the heart of choice, a choice to tap into the basis of human love and commitment for another person’s well-being, allowing love to lead what happens next. A choice where, if love was leading the way, what might it look or sound like when all is said and done?

Love orients our intentions to a place of goodwill for others and being fully present for what they might need or want from the experience.  Love’s orientation opens the space, safely allowing them to discover and deepen their capacity to change and learn, even during the most difficult of conversations.

I am faced with a difficult decision – what would love do? I am in conflict with another person – what would love do? I’ll be having a difficult conversation with an employee today – what would love do? I want to coach my team to take more initiative – what would love do?

Leading by love gives us opportunity to grow, as well. It helps enhance and deepen our leadership presence. When our orientation is focused keenly on the other person – shifting our perspective from ourselves and our egos – we learn from another’s perspective and by how they come to conclusions. Love’s leading deepens the quality of the questions we ask and the guidance we provide. It changes us just as much as it changes them.

Today is Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love. What opportunities do we have to let love lead the conversations we will be having? What choices will you make?