In this episode, Tom bids a short farewell to the CQ for Global Leaders podcast and shares some of the lessons he has learned whilst doing this podcast, as well as some exciting news about his work that we should all watch out for.
Hitting the Pause Button
- A commitment enables you to crystalise your thinking. It enables you to reflect and pull out lessons that you can then share with others.
- Podcasting helps you be succinct. It is also a great medium to engage in conversations.
- Conscious ageing is all about how we transition into the different stages of our lives and realising the things that are important to us as we transition.
- The rules that you have in the morning of your life don’t apply in the afternoon of your life. And, in the evening of your life, the things that you held true will suddenly all seem to be lies.
- Conscious ageing revolves around the positive aspects of ageing. It teaches us how to appreciate the benefits that come with ageing and how we can become better elders.
- Ageing creates a space for wisdom.
- We spend the first half of our lives accumulating things and the second half of our lives giving them away.
- Part of the growth and progress for yourself is also exploring different fields.
To all our listeners, thank you very much for your support over the many years. If you do have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to hear your thoughts too about how we’ve provided value to you through our podcast for the last couple of years. Thanks again and we’ll be back soon!
In this episode, Tom talks about the Four Pillars of Realignment, and how leaders can make use of the current environment to revisit our purpose and values in our organisation.
Realigning the Team
- The Four Pillars of Realignment
- Purpose – revisit your purpose. What is your purpose? Why are you in business? How does your purpose remain relevant to the current environment?
- Values – what are the things that you stand for as a team and as an organisation? How are you demonstrating your values? How do you ensure that your behaviours are aligned with your values?
- Operating Principles – how do you work as a team? How do you deal with the issues that come up? What is your strategy?
- Tools and Tips – how do you use the tools that you have? What are some of the best tools that you have that can help you deal with the current environment?
- Purpose is what pulls people to go to work.
- Realigning is something that you can bring up in a team meeting, not just with the whole team, but individually. Check-in with your team not just about work but as well as personally.
- Apart from our physiological needs, there are three meta values that are important to people – community, pleasure, and meaning.
- As a leader, you need to think about how do you create a sense of community with your team especially now that they are being isolated working from home. The second thing is to think about how you can create a level of fun to engage them. And finally, how do you create a sense of meaning for your team?
- Being agile, flexible, and having the ability to adapt to new challenges are key aspects of being a leader.
- Challenges bring new opportunities. How are you making use of these opportunities? How are you realigning your team?
In this episode, Tom discusses control as an illusion, what it means, and the important aspects that a leader must have to help them navigate through difficult situations or things that are out of our control.
Control Is an Illusion
- The Cynefin Model is a conceptual framework by David Snowden that leaders can use to aid with decision making. Cynefin is a Welsh word that means “environment”.
- The Cynefin Model is a grid with 4 quadrants that help identify the variables and complexity of a probem.
- Simple – simple problem, simple solution
- Complicated – multiple problems with multiple causes that require an expert’s analysis
- Complexity – a network of situations/problems with multiple variables and you don’t know which of these variables is causing the problem
- Chaotic – where multiple variables all come together, and the cause and effect are unclear.
- Human beings are complex.
- To understand complexities, you need to probe and try different things.
- Learn to appreciate the variables that come into play when faced with a difficult situation.
- Keep in mind that there are things you can control and things that you can’t. You need to have the wisdom and courage to know the difference between the two.
- You can control how you react in difficult situations.
- Learn to accept that some things are just very complex that things that can be put in place to address these issues can also impact a lot of other things.
- Control is an illusion. You cannot control the environment you are in but you can control your reaction to it and reframe things that are within your domain.
- If you think you can control everything, you will be constantly disappointed when things are not working out.
- Sometimes, you just have to do your best and let it go. It doesn’t mean that you’re beating yourself up. It’s appreciating that there are things you can control and things that you can’t.
- Ambiguity is something that we all need to be used to. Helping your team and your organisation to deal with ambiguity is an important aspect of being a leader. After all, your team looks up to you for a level of certainty.
- In today’s environment, it’s important for leaders to have a high degree of authenticity and be able to demonstrate a level of vulnerability.
- There are lots of things that you can’t control. How do you reframe things?
- How do you demonstrate authenticity and vulnerability to your team? In times of uncertainty, how do you make them feel that you are all on this journey together?
In this episode, Tom talks about the phases we go through when faced with uncertainty and how we can be more flexible and adaptable to the things that are happening around us.
Are You Feeling Flat?
- It’s completely normal to feel flat when faced with sudden changes.
- Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy wrote in one of her articles that there are three phases that humans go through when faced with unusual situations. These are:
- Emergency Phase – where we tend to be in action. There’s a level of urgency and we are focused to get things done because we have to.
- Regression Phase – this is where we feel flat. The future looks uncertain. There occurs a sense of loss but it’s OK.
- Recovery Phase – this is we begin to reorient ourselves. We rethink our goals and recalibrate our expectations. We focus on what we need to do now with the current situation versus what we wanted it to be.
- It’s possible to move through all these phases in a day but sometimes it takes a period of time.
- Out of chaos comes order. The lockdown has been a major seismic shift in the world and we are all just making it as we go. You want to adaptable, flexible, and think about how you can participate in this new game as it evolves.
- When faced with unusual situations, our brain works hard to make sense of all the uncertainties and creates different neural pathways that somewhat drain us physically.
- Give yourself permission to switch off from everything, and allow yourself to recover.
- Models and frameworks help us put things in a way that we can understand.
- This too shall pass. There’s value in having someone to talk to or sound ideas with when faced with uncertainty.
- Think about the phases we talked about. Can you identify where you are in these phases?
- Share this framework with your team to also help them understand as well some of the transitions they are going through.
In this episode, Tom shares some of the things he learned during the lockdown amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Have You Learned During the Lockdown
- Realising how little money we need to live on and how much money we are wasting on trivial things are just some of the things that people learned during the lockdown.
- Webinars are a powerful tool to stay connected and engaged with the people you work with. However, keep in mind that it’s a whole new different platform that uses a different modality when it comes to delivering presentations. You have to think of different ways to keep people’s attention and engage with them.
- Having great content is a key thing when presenting whether in-person or online.
- Good content is really important but it’s only a small part of your webinar. Webinars are more about engagement. Really think about how you can present the concepts and frameworks of what you are trying to talk about in a way that it gets people to engage in the discussion.
- As a presenter, remember that you’d be doing most of the work to make the webinar a success, so timing is also really important. You’d also want to have only a limited number of attendees to your webinar.
- Be conscious about how you are coming through in the camera. Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions to maintain the energy.
- Design your presentation and activities differently. Use a different set of slides or visuals for your webinar.
- The lockdown presented a lot of opportunities and ways we can look at things. As leaders, it’s important that we are able to reframe things.
- There’s a diversity of things that people learned from the lockdown. Take the time to reflect on these things by having conversations with others.
- What have you learned during the lockdown?
- Ask the same question to your team and your family. What did you learn from them and how can you apply it to yourself?
In this episode, Tom talks about gratitude and joy, and the importance of taking the time to reflect on the things we are joyful and grateful for in our lives.
Gratitude and Joy
- Happiness can be derived from materialistic or worldly pleasures, whereas joy is from the soul. Joy is soul-satisfying. It gives you a sense of great pleasure and deep happiness.
- Recognising the things that bring you joy and being grateful for that is important to our emotional well being.
- Being grateful is something that you can develop.
- Dr. Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology recommends a technique in finding joy and being grateful, which can make a significant difference to our state of happiness.
- Before going to sleep at night, think about three things that you are grateful for that day. Do the same thing when you wake up in the morning, and think about three things that you are grateful for that will occur to you that day.
- Being grateful for the things that bring you joy gives us certainty.
- When you focus on the things that bring you joy, you’ll start to notice a lot of other things that bring you joy.
- Start practicing Dr. Seligman’s technique in finding joy. Think about three things that you are grateful for before you go to bed each night and in every morning when you wake up.
- Pause and ask yourself what gives you joy. If you haven’t started journaling, start on it and ask yourself the same question.
In this episode, Tom talks about why it’s important for leaders to check in with their teams especially in times of uncertainty and how they can do that in a way that deepens their relationship with their team members.
Checking In on Your People
- Checking in with your people in this current time of uncertainty is really important.
- Put some time aside to schedule at least a 30-minute one on one conversation with each member of your team that is not focused on getting the job done but a more personal level.
- Be very conscious of the questions you ask. Ask open-ended questions. Ask them about how they are doing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Listen to what’s not being said.
- Probe deeper.
- Don’t be judgemental when listening to their responses. Biases shut conversations down.
- Show a level of empathy. Give the person a space to be open about his/her current state.
- Human beings are tribal. We need a community. We need people to hang out with and bounce ideas with. Scheduling time in your calendar for those incidental conversations with your team is really important.
- Checking in shows that you care. Let your team know that you appreciate what they’re doing as well as the difficulties they may be going through. Whilst there’s no guarantee that it can solve things, it does create a space for deepening relationships.
- Checking in with your team helps build trust. Trust is the glue that keeps teams together.
- Take action. Schedule a time in your calendar to have one on one conversations with each of your team members, your individual contributors, or your peers. Probe deeper and listen to things that are not being said in order to build those relationships.
In this episode, Tom talks about journaling as a very useful method for looking after ourselves, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
- Journaling is a very useful method for looking after ourselves emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
- Journaling is writing your thoughts down on paper.
- Journaling helps gain clarity of thinking.
- Simple headings you can use to start your journal.
- I will let go of…
- I am grateful for…
- I will focus on…
- Free form writing is another useful method to writing your journal.
- Journaling helps keep us sane.
- Spending too much time in your head is not useful. Get things out of your head by writing a journal.
- There are many ways and styles of writing a journal. It’s all about just doing it!
- Journaling helps maintain our emotional, mental, and spiritual state together.
- Mind mapping and drawing images are two other techniques to start a journal.
- As leaders, we need to ensure that we are keeping ourselves in a good space so that we can effectively lead our followers, our families, and our communities.
- Putting together a podcast is a great way of not just sharing your thoughts but also articulating those in a way that gives insights.
- Have you tried journaling? How did you find it? If you haven’t, try it.
- What journaling method do you find useful for you?
In this episode, Tom talks about the importance of self-care in leadership and the four aspects of self-care that leaders need to be mindful of especially in times of uncertainty.
- Self-care is important for leaders especially in times of uncertainty.
- Self-care is all about taking care of yourself so that you can then look after your team, your family, and your community.
- Looking after your physical health is all about movement and exercise. Go for a walk. Get out into nature.
- You are much more resistant to any virus when you are reasonably fit and physically healthy.
- Emotional health is all about your emotional well-being. It’s how you are within.
- Part of your emotional well-being is being able to recharge and reconnect with yourself.
- Mental health is all about your state of mind. Practice taking some time to meditate to look after your mental health. Sit in a period of silence. Focus on your breathing and just settle your mind.
- Keeping your state of mind healthy allows you to not succumb easily to pressure. Having the ability to reframe things that you can’t control and thinking about how you can make the best of the things that are within your control are all part of being mentally healthy.
- Spiritual health is all about our beliefs. It’s about knowing that there is something that is greater than ourselves and there’s a greater purpose to everything that is happening around us.
- Spiritual health is also about having a sense of appreciation and being in awe that there are things that are far greater and beyond us.
- As a leader, you need to be conscious of how you are managing yourself and showing up. You need to care for others because people are relying on you.
- Take care of yourself. Fill your own tank first so then you can reach out to others.
- In a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as a leader in terms of caring for yourself?
- What are some of the things you can improve and incorporate in your lifestyle?
In this episode, Tom reflects on the current COVID-19 pandemic and shares some insights on how leaders can effectively lead and help their teams navigate through this time of uncertainty.
Leading in Uncertain Times
- In times of uncertainty, you are either leading or hiding.
- Control is an illusion. You can’t control what happens. The only thing that you can control is how you react and deal with it.
- You can’t control the waves but you can learn how to surf. You can’t control the rain, but you can learn how to dance in the rain.
- Self-care is important. In times of uncertainty, it’s all about how you are showing up as a leader.
- Be calm. When things are uncertain, it’s important for leaders to show a level of confidence. If you’re not confident, your team is going to feel that.
- Your team looks at you as a pillar of certainty. When that pillar gets shaky, it undermines the level of certainty that they are looking for.
- The 3 Cultural Dimensions to be mindful of when leading in uncertain times:
- Hierarchy vs Equality – countries that are very hierarchical expect leaders to know what to do and tell them what to do, whilst in more equality-based cultures, people prefer to be engaged in the conversation.
- Low Context vs High Context Forms of Communication – low context communications are very direct whilst high context communication uses analogies, stories, and metaphors to get a point across.
- Collectivism vs Individualism – in more collective cultures, people are far more willing to go along with things for the greater good of the community rather than just for themselves.
- As a leader, it’s important to think about who you are trying to influence and how your message lands especially in times of uncertainty.
- Culture is tacit. We don’t think about our culture until we’re out of our own, but it influences the way we look at the world.
- It is not about knowing all the answers. It’s about being confident that you and your team will get through it.
- Be open to ideas because none of us have the answers. Today more than ever is a really good time to be open to different things.
- As a leader, how are you showing up in this time of uncertainty?
- How are you leading and helping your team navigate the current situation?