Leadership Coaching Concepts: Response-able
After the initial shock and stress of the pandemic, it is time for us leaders to start engaging fully with the post-pandemic world—for there are tougher and hitherto unprecedented challenges on the near horizon. They cannot be ignored. The planet, and her people, cannot wait.
When we are fully response-able we have the ability to respond creatively, usefully and positively to any situation. The key to having this ability is being prepared to own every situation we find ourselves in – or own as much as we can of the experience. The more we own it, the more power we have to do something different, to create another way forward that is beneficial to us.
Think of it this way – say you have £1000 to invest on the stock market, and you have narrowed it down to two companies, both of which haven’t been doing very well but you have heard things are looking up for. If the CEO or Managing Director of Company A blames the market, the customers, the weather and other external things for the poor performance of the company, how likely is she or he going to be able to guarantee that the future will be better? If they are not response-able for anything now how will anything they do differently next year make any difference to the success of the firm? But if the CEO of Company B says ‘yes, we are response-able for what happened, and we could have done better with our products, our sales team, customer care and our finances – but we have now seen what we did that wasn’t working and we are going to change it immediately’ then they have seen that things within their control can be altered and this will then give them far, far greater power to alter the performance of the company. Which would you invest in?
It’s the same with people – the higher up they get the more response-able they become and the more easily they can respond to any problems, challenges or obstacles in the way of their professional and organisational goals.
Another simple example is being late – something all of us tend to do at some point, no matter how prompt we aim to be. When we are late it is deeply tempting to explain it with a thousand and one reasons that are outside of our control, that are external to us. This seems to work well because it’s now become a social convention that most people subscribe to that it’s the late trains, bad weather or troublesome kids that are all responsible for our lateness.
But if someone said to you “we will give you £1,000,000 if you arrive here at exactly 9am, but if you are even a minute late you get nothing” then ask yourself truly, would you be late? What would you do within your control to ensure you got that money? Would you be there just on time? Would you camp outside all night? What would you take under your control to make sure you got there on time?
When the stakes are high we suddenly seem to be able to do things more powerfully than when we care less about things. We could, if we were really honest and truly response-able, use these skills to make the effort every single time we plan to do anything. No exceptions. No excuses.
Remember that this does not mean being late – or not achieving our goals – is a bad thing (far from it as long as we are learning; as long as we keep at it). But if we empower ourselves by being response-able for all our actions, including getting to places on time, then we always know we can proactively solve any challenges that come our way.
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