You see a lot of things, you hear a lot of things, we're all constantly exposed to so many influences that it becomes very easy to be overwhelmed by all the wisdom and advice that's out there.
Lots of those insights are very logic and you understand them, but then years later, something happens and BOOOM, you don't only understand it, you suddenly totally get it.
That's what happened to me earlier this week with the memorable 'connecting the dots' speech
of Steve Jobs.
Several years ago, I listened to his speech for the first time. Now, this week, I suddenly realised "hey, now that's what he was talking about!"
So let me tell you a story, and distract two powerful leadership lesson from it.
Right now I'm fully into the process of rolling out a new service to offer: Wizard, the robot.
A service aimed on automating the work processes of solo-entrepreneurs and small teams (up to 10 people), to boost their (and your) efficiency.
This goes completely hand in hand with what I'm currently offering -the personal coaching on your effectiveness- because when you start to realise more, it will probably also bring a lot more things in motion. And then it's a matter to being very efficient in handling all those new waves that you provoked.
Think for example about going through your cluttered mailbox each day, or spending time on your social media presence.
There are so many smart tools and apps available that can help you with that. It just requires some time, some logic thinking, and affinity with the tools and the processes behind it to set it al up, and let the tools do the work for you. It seems that I'm quite good at that, and that it is a hustle for many others. So that's where the Wizard service comes in: I set it all up for you, and you can enjoy the benefits of being more efficient, meaning having more time to spend on those things that really matter (like spending time with your loved ones, going on a vacation, thinking about your long term strategy,...), and all of it while your 'robot' is taking care of running your business!
(if you are interested to learn more about this new service, then just leave your name and email address at this page: http://www.thehappinessfactory.be/ENG/Wizard.shtml)
Now why is it easy for me to set up things like that?
Because I'm educated and have a degree as an automation engineer.
For many years I didn't really use the skills that I learned there. A few years after graduating I was already going into a different field: the field of optimization and continuous improvement. Lean Manufacturing, and Operational Excellence where my new habitat. That leaded me slowly from a pure manufacturing environment towards the optimization of administrative processes, and hard core management consultancy. There I learned the skills of running a business, even on a corporate level. Through those different stages, leading improvement projects was the constant factor. So I also learned a lot about non-hierarchical leadership, and dealing with change, resistance and guiding/coaching people through it.
All those lessons came together when starting my own business, The Happiness Factory, focused on one-on-one coaching for ambitious leaders willing to be more effective at work. At that moment, when I was very deep into professional one-on-one coaching, I realised that another foundation for my coaching work was created immediately after my graduation. My first 'real' job ever was being a personal assistant of a mentally and physically handicapped young lady. This taught me a lot about building empathic connections, about inclusion or being expelled from society just because you think or act 'different'. All things that came back so many years later when coaching my ambitious clients who also feel 'different' because they are pushing things forward.
After my vacation experiment, where I took up the challenge to let the business run on its own while I was enjoying beaches and mountains (read all about it in this blog post: Why you should 'employ' a robot)
, it became very clear to me that the skill of automating your business is not just something that everybody has. It is something that was trained during my education.
But right after my education, I would have never been able to launch such an automation service like Wizard, simply because back then I didn't had the experience of process thinking, management optimization, knowing the ins and outs of running a business, etc.
Now, based on all those different experiences built up throughout the last 15 years, I am ready to make that step back to my roots and step fully into the automation of your work routines. And I can do so with a lot of useful baggage.
Sounds like a pretty nice story, don't you think?
I couldn't have planned it any better upfront.
But let me tell you a secret. I didn't planned any of it! And in many situations I had totally no idea what my next step would be.
And that's exactly what Steve Jobs refers to in his 'connecting the dots' speech: "you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward"
Let me tell you one thing: Steve Jobs was absolutely right!
Unfortunately, knowing that he was right is not enough. Even understanding it on a cognitive level, isn't enough. Really experiencing it, because suddenly all the pieces fall together, that makes the real deep understanding!
So, as promised, let me distract two powerful leadership lessons out of this:
- I didn't plan for any of those things to happen. And so shouldn't you!
If you keep building your story, if you keep moving forward, if you keep taking different steps and different roles, then be sure that one day the dots will connect.
Leadership lesson: you don't always need to know what the next step will be. Just keep moving forward in a direction that is most plausible. So dare to let it go, and just take the next step!
- Don't believe me! Don't believe a word of what I'm writing! But do take it with you, and go after the experience, so that one day you too can say "hey, this was exactly what he was talking about".
Leadership lesson: always build upon experiences!
Perhaps you're now pondering about the 'How?' question. Well, there isn't much of a 'How' in this one. Just make sure you're having enough learning experiences (sometimes we tend to call that mistakes)
, intentionally create
those experiences (make sure you also create them for the people you lead)
, and then just see what comes up.
And if you're wondering how to be at ease with that, well, in my Management Consulting phase we said one thing very often: "trust the process...".
Do you have questions or remarks about something you've just read?
Feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org
), and I will be glad to talk to you!
Geschreven door Dennis Fredrickx