Inspirational Leadership 2020

Now is the time to hit play

Access the resources discussed in the video. The text below is a much deeper version of what's in the video.

I don't care if you're busy, if you haven't got a job, if you're working from home. Now is the time to be the leader you always wanted to be. The leader who inspires people into the best of themselves. The leader who creates possibilities for the people in their circle of influence. You can press play or pause on that type of leadership.

Certainly, if you've lost your job, you may take a few days, as you cycle through the Stages of Grief 

Stage 1: Shock/Denial

Stage 2: Anger/Fear

Stage 3: Acceptance

Stage 4: Commitment

and be kind to yourself as you do so. Also, take into account that your people are going to do the same. So if you decide to implement any of the suggestions below, keep that in mind. 

Now is the time for you to step up and be an Inspirational Leader

You could be at home licking your wounds. You could be going flat chat because your business is booming. And you could be punching the numbers and working out how long you can stay in operation.

Whichever space you are in right now.... If you want to have a positive impact ... now is the time to do something that keeps yourself and your people believing in their future, and feeling like their tribe has their back. 

I wanted to share with you some of the coaching I've been doing with clients and my family this week.

Some of my clients are busier than ever and drowning in their to-do lists. Some at home feeling bummed and shell-shocked. Some frantically trying to figure out how to help keep their business alive and their team members employed.

There are four themes I've shared with each of them. The four themes cover all 4Bs of high-performance: Believing, Belonging, Behaving and Bottom-line:

The 4 things high-performing leaders must do right now:

  1. 1
    Don't let your to-do list get in the way of leading and caring for your people 
  2. 2
    Press play not Pause. Future-proof your own and your people's careers by shifting their mindsets from employee to business owner/partner 
  3. 3
    Get yourself and your people focused upon Deep Work
  4. 4
    Keep community and learning alive within your teams
4 Bs of high-performance

People Are Asking Themselves

Have I got a future? Has my company got a future?

As a leader it's your role to help your people believe they have a future. 

Regardless of whether it's with your company or with another company.

People are worried. 

It's your job as a leader to reassure them. To help them see into and prepare themselves for the future. 

Don't let your To-Do list get in the way of your real impact

In all likelihood you got promoted to a leadership position because you are good at getting stuff done. And right now, it is probable your to-do list is overflowing. But being caught up in your to-do list, without a vision is a sure-fire way to cripple your business and your people. Sure you still have to get 'stuff' done - that's Bottom-Line and it is important.

What's more crucial right now is leading and inspiring your people. 

You must focus as much on the first two B's: Believing and Belonging as you do Bottom-line. If you get this balance right, you'll shift from being a good leader to being a remarkable leader.

For decades, Gallup research has been telling us: what people want from their leaders is stability, compassion, trust, and hope.  

People want from their leaders





And now more than ever, they absolutely need that from you, their leader.

And yes, I'm including those of you who have just had to lay people off. The people you've been leading over recent months and years, need you as much as they did when you were paying their salary.

Your ability to visualise the future and create hope and action out of chaos is your greatest asset. Use them.

Regardless of whether your business is imploding or not. You've got to hold space for hope and inspiration for the people around you. To give considered, and future-focused leadership that prioritises the wellbeing of yourself and your people into our future. 

Getting through Covid19, isn't just about physical survival. It's also about quality of life after the event.

Whether we like it or not, our world runs on commerce. Knowing that you can put a roof over your head and food in the bellies of yourself and your loved ones has a massive impact on wellbeing. As well, people get much of their sense of self-worth from work. With that in mind ...

Giving your people their best possible chance to stay employed and/or get re-hired fast is something great leaders do. 

There are four ways people are reacting at the moment.

People are either feeling that the world is at an end and it is helpless. Or, they are feeling  this is a time of reset. Huge opportunities are available. 

Some people are thinking: while this is going on we need to press pause and wait it out. Others are thinking: this is the time to press play and set ourselves up for massive success now and into the future.

Inspirational Leadership: Play or Pause

What you do today predicts your tomorrow

If you are a remarkable high-performance leader, you need to be sitting above the line. In the top right-hand corner. And, as an inspiring leader, making a positive dent in the universe, you're going to get as many people as possible into that quadrant with you.

Press Play not Pause on People's Careers

Turbulent times these are. However, you'll provide inspirational leadership if you focus more on play than pause.

You've got the opportunity right now, even if you're working from home or you're out of work to press play on your personal career success and the success of the people who work with you. 

Because mark my words, even people who are working right now, they'll still be competing for work in the upcoming months. Because employers are going to have a lot of great people to choose from.

Competition for jobs in the coming months is going to be ruthless

I want you to set your people up to be in the top 2% of high-performers. So that they stand out in front of everyone else when it comes time to be applying for new jobs. Do you want that?

It's your time to step up. 

There are millions of people around the globe sitting at home right now. Some are watching Netflix and the News.  Either switched off or wringing their hands. Others are preparing for the future.  

Be the leader who is preparing yourself and your people.

Our world will get through this time. Gosh, we've had lots of other things come and go over the years: Wars, Plagues, the Great Depression. The world has always gone on. So prepare yourself and your people for the world going on.

Secure people's careers

These are the people that are going to thrive in the future

The future of work may well change. But what won't change is that the people who get hired or who get kept on in organizations, are the people who make or save massive amounts of money for the company.

If you’ve got to choose between two people, who are you going to choose?

  • The one who comes in does great work and goes home. 
  • Or the one who comes in does great work...  AND comes up with ideas and solutions that make or save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Pretty obvious right?

So, even if you have had to stand down or lay off people, or you've been stood down/laid off yourself, the best thing you can do is to get people's mindset into a new space. 

Get people thinking like business owners/partners

The reality is every person who works is self-employed. They work for ("Their Name" Inc e.g Jane Smith Inc). Jane just happens to sell her skills, capabilities, and mindset to one customer … her employer.

Every business owner knows that you must provide a service or product that your customer wants, or you go out of business.

So with that mindset, you ask yourself two exceptionally important questions:

1. What does my customer (employer) want?

2. How do I ensure that my customer (employer) is a raving fan of me?

Being an employee will keep you average ...

behaving like a business partner will set you apart

Thinking like a business owner is what is going to separate yourself and your people from most others. When you take on this mindset, you are now going to do things and think differently from the average employee. 

Someone with an employee mindset comes in and does what they're employed to do. Produce the service or product.

An individual with the mindset of "I'm in business for myself," comes at their job from a different perspective. They focus on providing exceptional customer service, so their customer (employer) becomes a raving fan. Because their business - "Their Name Inc." needs to do that to keep their customer paying them.

Here's a quick example, to illustrate the difference in behaviours of employee and a business partner. 

Difference between an employee and a business partner

Thinking like a business owner sHIFTS PEOPLE'S RESULTS

People thinking like business owners, rather than employees take far more initiative. They provide far more discretionary effort.

Because they realise that going the extra mile isn't simply for their employer's sake. It is for their own sake.

It secures their career and their emotional and financial success.

Because they become the high-performing person that companies chase after. 

They no longer believe the company holds the keys to their success. To their career and job satisfaction.

Instead, they believe they hold the keys. It is a transformational mindset.

They realise that thinking about how to make or save money for their employer isn't merely to help the employer. It is what is going to set them apart. Particularly when they are competing with a whole bunch of other people for the same job. 

I've made this training free so you and your people can benefit

I have opened up the online Mindset of High-Performance Employee training for free. So go ahead and give yourself and your team members access to this life-changing training. There are exercises to get people focused on their Vision for the future and assessing their current capabilities. 

(NB: This training is primarily directed at people in leadership and professional roles. Depending upon the maturity and outlook of your workforce it may or may not work for front-line team members. Take a quick peak yourself, before you send your people to it, to assess how it will be received and if the activities are appropriate.) If you feel that it would benefit if I created a modified version for front-line team members, let me know and I'll do that. 

I can't stress this enough

Get people through the Mindset of a High-Performance Employee training first, so they have that as context. 

Then get them to think about making or saving money for the company, regardless of whether their job is secure or not. It will set them apart from most others, when it comes time to re-establishing careers and gaining employment post pandemic. 

Focus on Deep Work

Now you and your people are likely in one of 3 groups:

1. Attending work like normal(ish)
2. Working from home
3. Out of work

No matter which category you and your team members fall into, now could be a time of golden opportunity.

Once you've worked out your crisis plans for keeping the business going and stabilizing for the now, turn your attention to the future. Or, if you're out of work, and you've come out of the shock, turn your attention to how you can come out of this stronger than ever. 

Now is the very best time to do the deep work that you would normally never do.

What do I mean by deep work?

It's the stuff that you know you should get to, but you don't because of the craziness of everyday work. If your industry and company isn't snowed under with work because of the pandemic, then now is the time for you as a leader to refocus your attention.

It's the work that transforms how your company produces its product or service. Transforms how your people work. Transforms how you are seen in your industry.

Value Added Work

Deep work is also working on your personal Vision and Mission. Building new skills and mindsets. 

People become irreplaceable when they become the person who finds novel solutions to perplexing problems. When they make or save the company money.

Get your people focused on Deep Work even if they are laid off or at home without pay

Now this may seem crazy, but bear with me for a moment.

When you are looking to rehire people, who are you going to hire? 

  • The person who sat at home in despair, or don't care mode. 
  • Or the person who rings you up and says, "Hey, I've been thinking. I've come up with a couple of ideas on how we could save $750,000 per annum".

Because even if you're in an industry where job cuts have happened and your team members are looking for a new employer, they might put themselves at the head of the 'hired' queue, if they do take on this challenge. 

Because when they're out looking for work in the new world, they can say something like: "You know, we got laid off. In between looking for work and getting some new skills. And I kept thinking about work. I kept thinking about how I could help our company improve when/if we got back into operation. Here's some of the ideas I came up with. I'd sure like to do that for your company."

Would you employ that person, or the person who says: "Hey, I'm really good at ... e.g. customer service. I spent my time looking for work and getting some new skills.

Certainly, it may be difficult, if not impossible for people to access the information to cost out real savings. Particularly if the company is closed. But if you're creative enough, together you should be able to assemble a fairly good analysis and project plan. 

Challenging your people to do this, means they become the individuals who stepped above the line. They didn't stay below the line in Futility and Rescue Me mode.

And imagine if you are looking for a job in the new world and you said something like: "Even though I was laid off/working reduced hours, I kept in touch with my team. In fact I did a whole bunch of stuff with them that would help the business improve. My thinking was this work would help the company if we got back into operation. And if not, it would help my team members get work. Because prospective employers would be able to see the commitment and initiative they have."

Wouldn't that quality of conversation help secure your career.

And for those of you who are in companies that are still in operation. You too must hit PLAY not PAUSE on this.

If you're working from home, use your commute time to set yourself apart

The thing I've been saying to most of my clients who are in the 'working from home category', is use what is normally your commute time to do Deep Work. To be thinking about how you can improve the business. Or improve your own skill set. 

Most of my clients have between 30 minutes and one hour of commute time available to them at each end of the day.

So, I've been saying to them, (and encourage your team members to do this as well) ... Don't take a leisurely breakfast. Instead, use this time to work on the stuff that will set you apart from the other people who are going to want your job (if it still exists). Or whom you will be competing with for a new job.

Because the reality is many of you will go back to offices where there were once 50 people, there are now only 30.

Now is not the time to press Pause. It is the time to press play on your career, and you have a whole lot of control over how this plays out in the coming months.

The people who freeze and press pause - they are likely to be in a world of pain in the future. So, for yourself and your people you've got to get on to this. Get them Believing in their future. Believing they've got some control.  Which is important in times of chaos like this.

The people who will thrive post COVID 19 

are the people who have shifted from an employee mindset to a business partner mindset.

If you stick to an employee mindset - do good work and go home - you are nowhere near as valuable as someone who ...

does good work AND thinks about how to make or save money for the business

That's your competitive advantage

Share This Exercise With Your People

Here is a pdf that you can give to people, The purpose of it is to help them think about their personal impact and how they can value-add to the company. It's extracted from a program that we run called Zodiak.

Zodiac is a simulated board game where people run a $40 million business and try to run this company profitably making decisions as if they were CEO.

After the simulation is over we get participants thinking about their business and how they can reduce costs or increase revenues. The exercise I've extracted is one of several that participants complete.

But for now use this extract to get your people thinking. Regardless of whether your company is going to exist into the future. This piece of work could secure them employment in the future. Showing they have initiative and have shifted to a business partner mindset.

Shelley Holmes

Thinking and behaving this way is not easy. If it was, everybody would be doing it.

Put yourself in the elite 2%. If you do the work you will set yourself apart. 

When you shift your mindset from, "What do they owe me?" to, "How do I make myself irresistible to employers?" you'll have the edge every single time.

Community/Belonging is crucial

Social connection is a primal need. It's deep in our DNA. People need to feel that they're part of a tribe. That they are valued. That they are cared about. That they are in place where they can thrive. 

Well, that's all been turned on its head in recent weeks. But as a high-performance leader - even if you've had to let your people go, you can still do this.

Millenia ago, when we were still in caves, at the end of the day we'd come together and we'd sit around the campfire, and we'd talk. What did you do when you were out hunting or gathering? What did you learn? What did you do differently? Look at what you've bought into our community. Look at what you've done. What are you looking forward to tomorrow.

Those are the sorts of conversations that happened around those campfires.

Our reptilian brain is screaming for social connection (Belonging)

Because people need that sense of belonging right now. Our reptilian brain is screaming for it. 

  • I belong
  • I'm valued
  • They've got my back
  • They care for me

And you can provide that quite easily. Doesn't have to be major. Just a quick social health check.

If you're the sort of person that stepped into a leadership role because you wanted to make a dent in the universe you wanted to have a positive impact, then these are the sorts of things that you'll be doing. This is great leadership!

So, whether your people are working isolated, whether they're social distancing at work or whether you've had to let them go, check in with them every day. 

  • How was your day? 
  • What did you learn?
  • What are you planning for tomorrow? 

Set them up to succeed

Now to circle back to the idea of getting people to think about how they could improve the business, or improve their skillset. One of things we know is that people might have good intentions, but they don't always follow through.

Use Implementation Intentions

To combat this use what researchers call Implementation Intentions. 

Researchers found that if people set down

  • when they're going to do something
  • where they'll be
  • what they'll have with them when they're doing it
  • a brief outline of their first activity

the chances of them actually going out and doing what they said they were going to do skyrockets. It puts them up to about 70 to 80% chance of getting stuff done.

Get them to commit beyond saying, "Oh yeah, that's a good idea. I'll do something like, think about my vision or think about how to make or save money."

Move them from 'good idea' to implementation

So you want to say to people is: "Okay. When you do that, where will you be? In your house? What resources will you have with you? What's one of the first three things you're going to work on? And get them to write it down and schedule it in their diary.

Get them to send you a weekly or daily plan. Then check in with them to see how they're going. This is as good for your and their mental health as it is for career health.

Press Play not Pause (Part 2)

I've been thinking long and hard about how I can help.

You must Press Play on your career not Pause. 

Normally, I'd be gearing up to run my Rockstar Leadership workshop. In this workshop people pay just over $13,000 to attend and work with me for the year.

Clearly, I can't bring people in from around the country for the workshops here on the Gold Coast. So, I was thinking about running it remotely.

But something else occurred to me. There are people who need practical help and solutions right now. Because, while the Rockstar Leadership program is transformational, it is a longer-term solution. 

So what I thought was let's put on a group coaching program.

Shore up your own sense of community and belonging

You'll have the opportunity to be on the call with other like-minded leaders, asking and getting answers to your questions. It is not a webinar. It is real group coaching.

It will be 100% online with a maximum of 10 in the group, and the cost will be $175 per person per month. 

If you'd like to dig deeper into the 4Bs of high-performance and how you can use them during this time to inspire and engage your people, then group coaching could be for you. 

Dig deeper into the ideas and concepts that are going to help you and your people have the edge.

Get your questions answered then check out the Group Coaching program I've put together

So that's it: 5 things I want you to do to help yourself and your people have the edge:

  1. 1
    Don't let your to-do list get in the way of leading and caring for your people 
  2. 2
    Press play not pause, so you future-proof your own and your people's careers by shifting their mindsets from employee to business owner/partner 
  3. 3
    Get yourself and your people focused upon Deep Work
  4. 4
    Keep community and learning alive within your teams
  5. 5
    Check out the group coaching and register your interst

Keep your people performing and secure your career and reputation as a high-performance, inspirational leader who is making a difference in our new world. 

In an article I wrote some years ago, about teams going through difficult times I spoke about Challenge, Connection and Clout.  You may want to use those principles as well, as you work through this time with your people.