My key take-aways from WOBI 2019, Superminds.

My key take-aways from WOBI 2019, Superminds.

By Katrien Audenaert Partner, The Resilience Institute Europe, November 28th 2019

MY KEY TAKE-AWAYS FROM WOBI 2019, Superminds.

WOBI – the world of business ideas- is a leading global business content hub. Their goal is to produce and distribute the best management media content to help companies and their top executives improve the way they manage their organizations. They strongly believe that knowledge is the ultimate competitive advantage. Organized in cities across the world, WOBI’s events gather thousands of senior executives to learn from the most influential business thought leaders and practitioners.

The speakers at the WOBI Forum NYC 2019 – Jim Collins, Simon Sinek, Dr. Janet L. Yellen, Guy Hamel, Marcus Buckingham, Zoë Chance, Kory Kogon, Randi Zuckerberg, Hal Gregersen and Ian Williamson- delivered excellent keynotes, full of interesting and often challenging ideas.

I went back home with 5 major take-aways:

–       Greatness or excellence is not luck or personality: it is a matter of conscious choice and discipline. It involves disciplined people, who combine humility with will and put themselves at the service of others. Take care of your people instead of your career and they will take care of you (Jim Collins).

–       When you operate in an age of uncertainty, in a VUCA world, there are no real answers. If we are stuck, questions are the answers. We need to compose conditions and wait for catalytic questioning: build daily disciplines to surface the right questions. Ask questions that make you feel uncomfortable, quiet, wrong, … Build good questioning patterns. If you have a challenge, instead of looking for answers, start with questions and your challenge will become much clearer and sharper. Try these question bursts with a buddy or with your team and you will be surprised! (Hal Gregersen)

–       Stephen Covey’s urgent-important matrix is not only about personal time management. Leaders should help their teams to getting things done with quality, by rewarding Quadrant 2 (important-not urgent) behaviors and keeping them out of Quadrant 1 (urgent and important) when possible (Kory Kogon).

–       Simon Sinek showed us how to live a life with an infinite mindset, even though our lives are finite. The goal is not to win the competition but to outlast the competition. It is a conscious choice based on the following principles. Advance a just cause: a vision that is so beautiful that we are willing to sacrifice for. Build trusting teams. Study your rivals because their strengths reveal your weaknesses. Build existential flexibility, this capacity to make a profound strategic shift. Have the courage to lead because the pressure to play the finite game is very high. Take care of each other: we have a lot of matrixes to measure performance but so little to measure trust.

–       Marcus Buckingham showed us that excellence has its own configuration. We cannot learn about it by studying its opposite. He blew me away with his ‘9 lies about work’. Using the example of Messi’s extraordinary dribble with his left foot in the Copa Del Rei in 2015, he showed us how learning comes from within and is done with passion, joy and love. Ask yourself: ‘what is my left foot?’ What am I really good at?’. Your strength is your opportunity: focus on what you are best at. Practice it. Know what you love and spend a week in love with your job. What are the current activities in my job that I love? What strengthens you?

I am already looking forward to the WOBI 2020!

OPTIMISM

OPTIMISM

Research Highlight: Optimism is a super skill

95% of the most successful 10% of people scored “I think and communicate with optimism” with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’ (in a sample of 21,000).

The human mind is Velcro for the negative. Based on a high threat environment, a negative and threatening explanation might have been advantageous. Today, pessimism disables you.

Only 9% of the least resilient people score optimism with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’.

Question: How can I explain this adversity in one enabling sentence?

Condition: Notice but reject the easy negative self-talk

Discipline: Think and express yourself with positive language

Caution: Our times are testing. This will take courage.

What you can do right now?

  1. Ask someone close if you are optimistic or pessimistic. Explore an example
  2. Watch the content of your thoughts. Notice the words you choose to make sense of a situation. For example: “This always happens to me”
  3. Explore different ways to express the situation. For example: “What could I do differently” Notice the shift from blame to responsibility.
  4. Be alert for positive news.  Some suggest that we aim to express at least three positive observations for every complaint.

In the background:

  • Fatigue, isolation and distress will reduce optimism
  • Sleep well, be social, relax and play
  • Nurture your positive emotions – joy, gratitude, appreciation, hope, kindness

Note: With the current social instability, political malaise and climate risk, the value and importance of optimism will increase. It is well proven that optimism can be learned and has wide ranging personal and economic benefits. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is proven an effective solution to depression. We use the term situational agility to describe the healthy and adaptive use of the optimism in key situations.

Own your joy!

FULFILMENT

FULFILMENT

Research Highlight: Fulfilment is a super skill

Of the most successful 10% of people in a sample of 21,000, 91% scored “I am contented, joyous and fulfilled” with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’.

Sadness (disappointment), fear (anxiety) and anger (frustration) are easy emotional traps to fall into. Far too many indulge in these destructive reactions. They will leave you in perpetual freeze, flight and fight states. This is deep suffering and ineffective.

Only 4% of the least resilient people score fulfilment with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’.

Question: What is the constructive emotion for this moment?

Condition: Be intolerant of complaint, frustration and blame

Discipline: Actively seek positive emotional expression

Caution: When necessary, tell your truth with courage and empathy

What you can do right now?

  1. In every moment – even the darkest – there is a positive response. In sadness there is learning and growth. In fear there is courage and calm. In anger there is tolerance and altruism. Be assertive in searching and expressing the positive response.
  2. Complaint spreads discomfort. Reject it. Frustration disables you. Reject it. Blame steals your power. Reject it. Respect, experience and name these negative reactions. They are real. Use the signal to say “NO”. Seek the positive angle.
  3. Learn to strengthen your positive emotions. If sad, seek the lesson learned. Be grateful. If afraid, seek calm presence. Be content. If angry, seek kindness. Be compassionate. If fatigued, seek energy. Be resilient.

Positive emotions are like muscles. If you work on them, they will get stronger. Even the toughest moments can be fulfilling. Enjoy your discomfort. Appreciate the moment. Strengthen your joy.

In the background:

  • Secure your sleep
  • Stay physically fit
  • Relax, breathe or meditate
  • Work on connection with those who matter to you
PURPOSE

PURPOSE

Research Highlight: purpose is a super skill

Of the most successful 10% of people in a sample of 21,000, 96% scored “my purpose in life is clear and meaningful” with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’.

Question: What is my purpose? Describe with clarity and meaning

Condition: Step back, up and take a wide view of what matters

Discipline: Connect and leverage all you do to your purpose

Caution: Keep a sense of humour, laugh and play

If you cannot define and describe what matters to you, you leave yourself exposed to distraction, seduction and procrastination. You will become a victim to the purpose of others. Your success will be compromised.

Only 6% of the least resilient people score purpose with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’. Poorly defined purpose leads to suffering.

What you can do right now?

  1. Your life is rich and diverse. There is no right or perfect purpose. Each of us must seek to define what really matters. Consider the times that you felt your life or activity was optimally on track. Joy and engagement are the signals to seek. Imagine your life with more of these times. What purpose would you be serving?
  2. It is essential to step back and remove the daily busyness and distraction. Find a perspective where you can take a wide view of life. What work needs to be done. Where are your particular skills best deployed? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to contribute to? What would you most love to achieve? Right down what this purpose would look like in action.
  3. Be courageous and look for ways to reduce those parts of your day that are not on purpose. Where could you increase the amount of time that would be spent on your purpose. Do what is not on purpose in the aim of getting back on purpose. Share your written purpose with others. Seek helpful feedback. Ask for help.
  4. Being on purpose all the time can be boring, overwhelming or intimidating to others. Don’t be too serious. Welcome failure and learn. Laugh when you go off track. Forgive yourself and make time to play. Seek nature and creative expression.

Building purpose takes time, experimentation and setbacks. The more accurately you can describe your purpose the more you will access your motivation and intuitive decision-making.

FOCUS

FOCUS

By 

 

Research Highlight: Focus is a super skill

Of the most successful 10% of people in a sample of 21,000, 94% scored “my mind is clear and focused” with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’.

Question: What meaningful activity will I complete today?

Condition: Clear your mind of distraction and clutter

Discipline: Hold intense, steady and sharp attention on task

Caution: Take regular breaks to rejuvenate and keep perspective

Distraction, uncertainty and self-doubt rule. Every day, thousands of interruptions, concerns and risks will present. For those who do not understand, train and continually improve focus, it is a very dangerous time indeed.

Only 4% of the least resilient people score focus with ‘very often’ or ‘nearly always’. Lack of focus leads to suffering.

What you can do right now?

  1. Select a meaningful task each day of the week. Start with making your bed or eating well. Once you have your basic daily routines sorted, then shift to one meaningful work or career goal. For example: today I will complete my new CV. Rest at least one day of the weekend – no important task.
  2. Clear your mind. Focus is impossible when lost in floodwaters of distraction. One by one, clear it away. Select your focus window during which your phone, e-mail, music, food and drink options are not available. Be comfortable but alert. Relax your awareness into the moment. Allow all frustration, anger, anxiety, fear, disappointment and sadness to drop away. Detach your mind from thoughts that arise and gently return to the present moment.
  3. Build intense focus. Select the focus required for the immediate task in front of you. Direct your attention fully at this task. Zoom in so that you can see the detail in fine granularity. Keep the beam of attention firmly on the current execution of your skills. Learn to recognise when focus fades, take a break and refocus.

Building powerful focus will take time and practice. Select achievable goals and define your time periods carefully. Pay attention to what works.

In the background:

  • Secure your sleep
  • Stay physically fit
  • Relax, breathe or meditate