How people experience working with you depends upon a number of factors. A big part of that is process. As I have written about extensively, process is important. It helps to coordinate, to deliver results, and to codify expectations and principles into guidelines that can be followed. Those benefits tend to be internal to an organization, however. Frustrations and unintended consequences can occur when those same processes bleed to the outside. For those who lead with process, consider this a cautionary tale.
It has been a while since I have posted here. I have unintentionally taken a bit of a summer hiatus. New projects have emerged, and I’ve also been reflecting on my overall focus and intent here as I find my voice and hit my stride with some of my other endeavours. I’m excited to be back here, contributing, observing, reflecting and sharing. I look forward to that continuing going forward.
Too many of us think that leaders are born, not made. We presume that leadership is an innate skill that we either have, or we do not. The reality is that leadership skills can be successfully taught, and learned. More importantly, good leadership gets demonstrated in a variety of contexts, by people of all levels and from all walks of life. Leadership isn’t necessarily the product of conscious intention; it shows up because it is needed. Above all, though, leadership is a performance; it involves embracing the behaviours and performing the roles that are essential in the moment, in response to the situation, to attain the outcomes that are required.
Last week was a difficult one for many. In one decision, rights have been taken away that were long-accepted as fact. There has been a lot of rage and sadness and frustration expressed already. There have also been calls highlighting the importance of others making their voice heard in support. That’s an interesting challenge. It is not easy being an ally. It is not something we are trained for. Nonetheless, there are approaches and strategies to engage in that will help.
Every year, the Ride for the Breath of Life raises funds for Cystic Fibrosis research. I have been participating for many of the seventeen years that the ride has been held. This year, my participation was once again virtual, as I rode alongside but at a distance with those that gathered in Edmonton. It was a spectacular day, for a very important cause. It is a cause that I am happy to support, and I’m grateful for the generosity of everyone that sponsored my participation.
I have a singular aversion to buzzwords. It is powerful, it is visceral and most of the time it exists on a hair trigger. There are certain words and terms that I avoid using except when absolutely necessary. Their use by others produces in me suspicion and mistrust. I have more-or-less acknowledged this reality for a long time, but I only recently took a moment to stop and ask myself why I react this way. It was an interesting reflection.