Crafting Culture Without a Plan

Recently we did a workshop centering on the work of Gina Valenti. Gina is in charge of culture for Hampton Inns. She shared her journey and her impressive successes. A key moment in her story was a personal challenge from her CEO. Hampton had introduced many positive practices. The CEO said, “We cannot afford to keep introducing practices that our competition simply copies.”

After pondering this challenge, Gina came to a personal epiphany: “The one thing others cannot copy is our people; they cannot copy our culture.” She eventually concluded that the success is about engagement, and engagement is not about compensation and benefits. It is about culture and climate. From then on, Gina became what I call a positive deviant.

Gina began to lead culture change. This always requires real leadership which is not about position and authority. She said, “We have general managers. We cannot command them. We have to inspire them.”

Gina does not see herself as being exceptionally smart (fixed mindset), but she does see herself as someone exceptionally committed to learning in real time (growth mindset). She surrounds herself with wise people and she listens, she moves into uncertainty, and she experiments. Gina says, “When I am crafting the culture, I do not have a plan. I just keep doing what makes sense and the path just opens up. Everything I do is with others. We co-create each aspect.”

Gina reports, “I try to focus on little things that make a big difference.” Leaders who seek to transform culture look for small acts that provide high leverage. Gina, for example, built the onboarding process around the behaviors of the very best GMs in the organization. Her new employees were thus learning from practical excellence. This strategy invites them to create their own excellence.

Gina’s ability to influence without authority is what differentiates leaders from managers. She knows solutions will come through the process of learning in the midst of ongoing experience.

How do I know Gina really has this kind of unconditional confidence? At the end of the session, she made a statement of quiet strength. I am not sure how many even heard it. She declared, “This year is a challenge. They just cut my budget by several million dollars. I do not see this as a problem. I will just find another way. I will do it differently.”

 

Reflection

  • Do you believe culture and engagement are the essence of competitive advantage?
  • What happens to a professional who values learning over knowing?
  • What does it mean to craft and co-create a culture without a plan?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?
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Customer Service as Positive Leadership

While we tend to learn from failure, the positive perspective invites us to identify and ponder manifestations of excellence. It invites us to examine and learn from success.   I had an experience with exceptional customer service and pondered it for days. One night I had a dream and a new idea came.

Often I fly into Detroit and I rent a car from National. Last year it was clear to me that the company had invested in customer service. Each time I visited, every employee was striving to make a noticeable contribution. About a month ago I was way behind schedule. As I returned a car, I mentioned to an employee that I was likely to miss my flight. He told me to climb back into the car. He yelled to his boss to cover for him, and he drove me to the terminal. I was amazed.

I began to pump him with questions. In a short time I learned a lot. He is a veteran. His goal in life is to own his own house. He has saved for years. He was about to realize his life dream, then he encountered a series of unexpected setbacks. Instead of dwelling on his problems, he described his new plans for realizing his dream. He said, “You have to hold on to your goals when things go wrong.”

When he reached the terminal, I gave him an extensive thank you. To my surprise, he thanked me to for giving him the opportunity to make a positive difference.

I barely made my flight on time.

A few days passed and then, one night, I dreamt about the experience. I could see trainers delivering a course in customer focus to the employees at National. I could see my driver and his colleagues taking in the material and then practicing the principles as they interacted with customers.

When I woke up, it occurred to me that the principles of high-level customer service tend to overlap the principles of positive leadership. When people learn and live the underlying principles of contribution, they tend to find greater meaning in what they do. The veteran that drove me to the terminal was not putting on an act; he was flourishing in the service he was rendering. A genuine customer focus was making not only my life better, it was also making his life better. Then an insight came.

There was more that could be done for that man and his fellow employees. The course needs to be enlarged. Currently it is framed around customer service. It is really about positive leadership. When he empowered himself to drive me to the terminal, that man was taking leadership and he felt great about it. That same man is capable of teaching positive leadership in his home and in his community.

 

The investment National made in the training would pay off even more if all the employees were trained to instruct others in their social networks. As part of the training, each student could be assigned to teach the underlying principles in their home or community. They each could to be given an altered, more generalized course book that would help them teach the principles. They could be invited to then report back to their peers.

Why do this? Everyone wins. The participants begin to see what they are learning at work as a life philosophy that applies everywhere. They also see themselves as teachers of the philosophy, positive leaders who make a difference. The family or community members benefit. The company and the training company both get more visibility in the community. Everyone wins.

Reflection

  • Identify an organization that gives you extraordinary customer service. How does it make you feel?
  • How does your unit or organization compare?
  • What would happen if your people were trained in customer service and also had the opportunity to teach the principles in their homes and communities?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Exuding Leadership Out of Every Pore

Past participants in programs on positive leadership sometimes write with an account of how they are changing their lives. These accounts are invaluable because they illustrate the integration of principles and action. In this case, a woman spoke of how she has grown as a wife at home and how she now operates differently as an executive at work. Her account is remarkable. She begins with a story about learning to be her best self, deciding to keep a gratitude journal, and establishing a closer relationship with her husband. She then goes on to share a remarkable story at work.

I decided to capture in a small book the things that I took away from the priest’s homily every weekend.  We go to church as a family, and as busy as life is I admit there are times when my brain is elsewhere.  Knowing that I wanted to capture the essence of the homily was certainly a good way to stay focused!  I did this on my own, without telling my family, and then wrapped the little book up.  I gave it to my husband at Christmas.  It was right before our 20th anniversary in January, and seemed a good way to give him a unique part of myself.  This was how I had interpreted/felt/been moved by the same words he had heard.  He really loved it, saying it gave him insight into me in a new way.  We are close, but this made us even closer.

In this case, she exercises the discipline to better know her best, unfolding self. She then gives her unique self to her husband. This act of vulnerability increases trust and learning and their relationship is enriched. It is a tender story. Yet of what value is her story to those of us who must work in challenging organizational settings “in the real world?” The rest of her account, provides an answer:

Since I knew the instructor she asked me to come in and speak.  I had an hour and the topic was really wide open – share my leadership style and any unique insights I had about leadership.  An added wrinkle was that I was speaking on Halloween, and our office had an Open House where we were in costume….

In the olden days, I would have been too embarrassed to show up as a medieval maiden in a long, flowing gown and headpiece.  Now, though, I embraced it and told the class that my goal was for them to remember how I made them feel, not every word I said or what I looked like.  My subconscious goal was to exude leadership out of every pore, not give them a list of “to-do'” that would make them better leaders.

I took to heart your admonition to be vulnerable, and how powerful that is.  I went through my leadership roles throughout my career, stressing how as a military officer you were expected to be tough, have the answers, and not show weakness.  As a civilian, though, my style had to adapt.

In my case, I was forced to show what I previously would have called weakness when I got breast cancer.  I was a in a senior position with people depending on me, and I was sick.  Worse yet, weekly chemo for 4 months left me bald and funny looking.  I say all this to explain that I shared it with them, and went one better.  I had a picture on a slide of me…bald…  And I told them how it was the best thing ever – it made me empathetic, not just sympathetic.  It let others step up and fill the void.  People don’t want to follow a leader who is perfect, they want one who is human.  It gives them permission to be human and have faults as well.

I also talked about the growing research that we and others are doing in organizational justice.  Bad leaders can have such a devastating impact on an organization they can, potentially, create employees who at best are disengaged or at worst become spies, leakers, commit workplace violence, etc.  That seemed like a new notion to the class – that there would be such extreme ramifications of bad leadership.  We are working with a researcher… and the results clearly show that in organizations that lack certain types of justice that can lead to all sorts of problems.

My parting words to the class were to be authentic in their leadership style.  Mine has clearly evolved over time, and classes like the week in Michigan have certainly helped.

This woman is growing. She has now internalized the principles of positive leadership. In doing so, she has not lost her understanding to the conventional hierarchy. She knows how to meet expectations. What makes her unique is she now knows how to violate those expectations in a positive way. She is “exuding leadership from every pore.” Does it make a difference?

She closes her account with a list of some of the statements that were sent to her from members of the class.

  • “Thank you for your candor and courage to be honest and vulnerable.  It is an inspiration for us all.”
  • “You affected my leadership philosophy.  Thanks for your inspiration.”
  • “Thank you for opening up to us.”
  • “I’ve recommended you for our leadership speaker series.  Would love to work for you.”
  • “Thank you for sharing your story.”
  • “Thank you for the wonderful discussion. I’ll never forget that amazing costume!”

Reflection

  • Who in your organization “exudes leadership out of every pore?”
  • Who gives you “permission to be human and have faults as well?”
  • What could you do right now to make a difference?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Conventional Management Assumptions are Killing Our Doctors: The Need for Positive Leadership

Recently I was very influenced by an article written by Pamela Wibble, and is titled, “What I’ve Learned from My Tally of 757 Doctor Suicides.”  She shares her personal quest to understand why so many doctors commit suicide.  She indicates that physician suicide is a public health crisis and shares many stunning observations.

Here I draw from her analysis and list the headlines that particularly capture my attention. Contributors to suicide include:

  • Bullying, hazing and sleep deprivation.
  • Academic failure at particular points of career progress.
  • Assembly-line medicine (15-minute intervals) and punishment for low productivity.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly in emergency rooms.
  • Doctors who never forgive themselves for patient deaths.
  • Malpractice suits and public shame for unintentional mistakes.
  • No time for doctors to deal with their own pain
  • The fear of exposure if help is sought.
  • Some medical professionals prefer to keep the issue quiet.
  • Blaming doctors for emotional distress and deflecting attention from unsafe working conditions creates increased hopelessness and desperation.

Why do I react so strongly?  First, losing anyone to suicide is a horrible loss.  Second, losing highly educated and seemingly self-sufficient doctors to suicide is both a surprising and a horrible loss.  Third, the article appears to be about medicine and doctors.  If you are a literalist, that is all you see.  I believe the article is really about something bigger.  It is about organizations everywhere and the inability of administrators to create positive culture.

I shared Wibble’s article with a few friends who are surgeons.  One has been making presentations on a related topic.  He shared a sophisticated analysis of stress and burnout.  He suggested many approaches to self-care.  Another came back with analysis showing how stressful the work can be.  He described many tradeoffs and suggested there are no easy answers.  Then he closed with this thought: “I suspect these stress levels are related to the ‘negative’ culture in many surgical departments, and the bad behavior that surgeon stereotypes often are associated with.”

I would modify his sentence and expand it beyond surgery and beyond medicine: “I suspect these stress levels are related to the ‘negative’ culture in many organizations, and the conventional behavior of administrators and employees in those organizations.”

Consider this: in medicine, we find bullying, hazing and sleep deprivation.”  We no longer stand for bullying and hazing in first grade.  Why does it occur in sophisticated medical systems?  Why does it occur, in less blatant forms, outside medicine?  What assumptions are being made, and what are those assumptions doing to our organizations and our lives?

In the above headlines, we also find punitive educational designs that lead to failure; economically driven service designs that often do not work for patients or doctors; job designs that lead to post-traumatic stress disorder; failure to psychologically support those who lose patients or experience malpractice suits; failure to recognize that doctors are humans who experience pain; failure to create effective support systems; and the administrative need to cover problems and blame the victim.

If I took a conventional route, my next paragraph would be a condemnation of medial administrators.  That would be misleading and less than useless.  I have worked on culture change projects in a number of health systems.  I find the administrators, like the doctors, to be highly stressed, but wonderful people who want the best for patients, staff, and doctors. It’s not just doctors who experience pain. On a given day in any organization, the workforce is full of human beings in pain.

A couple of years ago, I was invited to speak to young people who were finalists for residencies in a well-known hospital.  The idea was to spend the day on leadership.  During the morning, doctors gave advice that was accepted.  When I went on, I said, “From listening this morning, I conclude that leadership for a young doctor is to get on national committees so as to gain visibility and power.  It seems to have nothing to do with serving and elevating patients, staff, and colleagues.”

This is not just about medicine.  I was once head of a doctoral program.  I recognized the examination process leveraged the fear of failure and was designed to create maximum stress.  I redesigned the process so it still examined capacity but greatly reduced fear and stress.  I assumed my very progressive colleagues would welcome the proposed system.  Instead they resisted it at every turn.  I boiled down their arguments to one less-than-wholesome idea: “We went through it. Why shouldn’t they?”

Conventional management assumptions are killing our doctors and sapping the energy of the entire global workforce.  Positive leadership is the ability to transform conventional organizations into flourishing systems.  Scientifically we know that transformative influence means embracing and modeling the common good; showing individualized consideration; providing inspirational motivation; and challenging conventional thinking.  Management courses do not teach people how to do this because professors make the same assumptions about teaching that administrators make about management.

In a recent talk, I explained the problem and offered a new approach to leadership development.  It is not about knowledge and skills, it is about vision and the acquisition of moral power.  It is time to realize that in every profession we have to make an enormous investment in positive leadership, the ability see possibility and optimize human potential.

The Talk:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuOCrXdu08s&list=PLEXsazxyQoYbTcdweubcQRyCcsYLa5WbO&index=1&t=3s

An Educational Program for All:

https://umich.app.box.com/folder/37865143768

 

Reflection

  • How is the suicide of doctors reflected in your organization?
  • What elements of “negative culture” exist in your organization?
  • What assumptions justify negative culture?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

An Incomprehensible Aspect of Higher Purpose

A friend helps companies discover their highest purpose. He described a leader he is working with. The leader said, “We have a financial problem. We are going to put aside our work on purpose until we can fix the financial picture.”

In this very conventional sentence, the leader conveys why so many organizations fail at purpose work. I once was slated to speak to a company’s leadership team at dinner. In the hours before dinner, all the managers met in small groups to do the unpleasant work of downsizing. When I went on, I asked how many began their downsizing efforts with an examination of the company’s purpose and values. The answer was zero. They could not imagine why they should do such a thing. They had a real problem to solve. It was like the above financial problem. It had nothing to do with purpose or values.

They were right. Their problem solving had nothing to do with their purpose and values. In fact, despite signs on the wall, they did not have a purpose or values. If the words on the wall were authentic, they would have required themselves do the downsizing in a unique way. Every person who left or stayed would have had an experience demonstrating that the company values people and has a positive culture.

In most companies, the process of purpose finding is a technique. It is executed because of external social pressure. Today every organization is expected to have a purpose statement.

If the above CEO understood organizational purpose, finding it would have been his highest priority. The purpose would have guided the financial problem-solving process. The process would have unfolded as never before and it would have created a more positive culture and a more valuable organization. Since the conventional mind cannot conceive of an “authentic” higher purpose that guides every action, stating an organizational purpose is an exercise in hypocrisy and it does positive harm in an organization.

Reflection

  • What conventional logic explains why the CEO put off purpose finding?
  • What conventional logic explains why the downsizing was not guided by purpose?
  • Why does stating a higher purpose often do positive harm in an organization?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

Positive Emotions

I am inspired by the work of Barbara Fredrickson. It is instrumental to understanding positive psychology. Her research efforts demonstrate that positive emotions are necessary to openness and learning. Some of these emotions are joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, and love.

Frederickson’s research indicates that these emotions lead to thoughts that are unusual and flexible, integrate differences, and are more efficient. When we increase the flow of positive emotions, we can envision more possibilities. Positive emotions improve our ability to cope with adversity and make us more likely to find positive meaning in what is going on around us, even when negative processes surround us. They facilitate planning and goal setting; they also increase our ability to play, explore, savor experiences, and integrate new views into the self. Thus, positivity helps us make deep personal change and transform our organizations and ourselves. People become more integrated, more capable, and more resilient when things go wrong.

We can access these desirable outcomes by increasing something Frederickson calls the positivity ratio, which is the frequency of positive feelings over a given period divided by the frequency of negative feelings over the same period. When our ratio declines, we tend to spiral downward and become increasingly rigid. We feel overwhelmed and we lose energy, and we slip into the pattern of slow death. When the ratio climbs, we are pulled into upward spirals. We become increasingly open and creative. By monitoring and regulating our positivity ratio, we can determine whether we are moving toward stagnation and death or toward learning, growth, and development. It is a choice that determines our quality of life. Leaders learn to live in positive emotions and to create cultures of positive emotions.

Review

  • What do you do to elevate your emotions in difficult times?
  • What do you do to elevate the emotions of your people?
  • How positive is your organizational culture?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

An Organizing Image

In the 1950s, the government of South Africa was oppressive. There was little hope for the freedom-seeking efforts of black South Africans. Then in 1955, an idea was introduced: a “Congress of the People” representing every group in the country would draw up a charter containing principles for the creation of a new South Africa.

People from two hundred organizations responded to the question, “If you could make the laws… what would you do?” Asking the people to envision their own future caught the collective imagination and gave rise to a national conversation about purpose, integrity, connection, and learning. Suggestions came from everywhere. The document that emerged was short, clear, and inspiring. It became an organizing image.

In the years that followed, the oppression was extreme. Many efforts seemed random, feeble, and hopeless. Yet in the chaos, the vision or organizing image remained and gave inspiration. While it was almost impossible to see, a new order emerged and gave rise to the new South Africa.

The account is a dramatic illustration of a critical principle. When the people know their highest shared purpose, they can empower themselves to act. They may feel alone but they are actually a part of a larger system that is emerging.

There is an implication for organizations. In complex systems, there are endless distractions. When leaders step into this network of distractions and make the highest purpose clear, the people have an organizing image. They know where they need to go and what they need to do, even if there is no one there to tell them.

Reflection

  • Have your people been asked to envision their own collective future?
  • What would change if they had such an organizing image?
  • How could you lead such a process?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

 

 

Reflection and Tranformation

In recent months, I have often addressed the notion that leadership is becoming who we really are. Research suggests that the key to development is disciplined reflection. Many listeners have difficulty understanding how reflection leads to transformation.

In the book, Building the Bridge as You Walk on It, I share the story of Robert Yamamoto. Robert was the executive director of the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce. For his first four years in the job, Robert felt good about his accomplishments. Then, a new board president told him that he lacked the leadership capacity necessary to move the organization forward. The shock rocked Robert:

During the next few months, I went through a period of deep introspection. I began to distrust my environment and staff, and I questioned my own management skills and leadership ability. I felt that the board had lost confidence in my ability, so I resigned my position. I became afraid for myself and my family, and I began to fantasize about ways to somehow keep my job (do it better, faster). I also started to search for a new job.

            In the meantime, I went to what I thought was my last board meeting. The subject of my resignation came up to the surprise of most board members, and interestingly enough, some of the executive committee members. A board member then confronted the president, shared letters of support from stakeholders and my staff, and my role in the organization was reconsidered.

What a happy turn of events! At this point, it would have been natural for Robert to feel vindicated and lay the blame for an unpleasant experience on others. Instead, his deep reflection continued. It would lead to new commitment and the commitment would bring new vision.

After that board meeting, I did a lot of soul searching. I paid more attention to what I was doing. I began to notice my tendency to gravitate towards routine tasks. I began to see it as a trap. I knew I needed to change. I stopped thinking like a manager and began to think more strategically. I began to commit to achieve larger outcomes. I decided to really lead my organization. It is as if a new person emerged. The decision was not about me. I needed to do it for the good of the organization.

            Shortly afterwards, I told the board president, “This is what I must do, this is what the organization must do. If the board doesn’t like it, I will leave with no regrets.” In the language of Deep Change, I was suddenly “walking naked through the land of uncertainty.”

            To my surprise, she was completely supportive. It was as if a large weight was lifted. I began to see things from multiple perspectives and not just from my own “lens.” Learning (not in the traditional sense but in a holistic sense) became exponential. I saw things with greater clarity and understanding. While before I would need to have a clear understanding of the goal and the steps to get there, I trusted my ability to arrive at the destination and learn from the unscripted journey.

This is a classic account of the transformation from manager to leader. A trauma forces deep reflection and discovery. A new perspective emerges. The leader becomes empowered and empowering and the organization changes.

In my new condition, I was able to see what had been happening previously. Many people surrounding me were on self-interested journeys. The organization had no unifying goal. The operating strategy was to simply respond to the personal agendas of strong personalities. Roles had been defined through practice and tradition. People often blamed others because they themselves felt insecure and lacked leadership. When I changed, all these things also began to change.

Currently I see myself as a change agent. I have a critical mass of individuals from both the staff and board that are willing to look at our challenges in a new way and work on solutions together. What previously seemed unimaginable now seems to happen with ease. I know it all happened because I confronted my own insecurity, selfishness, and lack of courage.

There are two paths to disciplined reflection. The first is crisis. The second is choice. We can all choose to reflect. Through constant examination of our own identity and destiny, we can accelerate our own evolution and the evolution of the organization. We become transformational as we discover and become who we really are.

 

Reflection

  • When does Robert shift from fear to confidence?
  • What role did reflection play in his transformation?
  • How could we choose to do what Robert was forced to do?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

 

Purpose and Learning

We had a session with executives from a Fortune 100 company. The man in charge is an extraordinary person. Unlike many executives, he has a profound understanding of human influence and the fact that real leadership orbits around commitment to higher purpose. He spoke for two hours and that room full of very smart people was mesmerized. I took 16 pages of notes and then when I stood to teach, I built on what he taught. As we went through the process, the people remained fully engaged.

I asked them what word, other than “purpose,” their boss uttered most frequently. They gave me many words but not the right answer. Finally, I said: “The word is learning. He used it over and over. The man is passionate about learning. He sees purpose and learning as two interconnected keys to constantly creating a better life and a better world. He lives in state of adaptive confidence. He hungers to realize human potential and believes it can be brought about through individual and collective learning.”

They all nodded. The man also nodded.

I told them that we were having a conversation in which I was learning as much as they were. I meant it. The next morning I woke pondering the relationship between purpose and learning. The following occurred to me.

When we clarify and commit to our highest purpose, it draws us outside our comfort zone to make contributions to the greater good. We do things we do not know how to do. Of necessity we live in challenge and suffer failure. Because we are passionate about our purpose, we do not give up. Instead we engage in disciplined reflection. We further clarify our identity and destiny. New ideas and strategies come and we move forward. We discover a deeper self. We discover that we have untapped potential and we also see the untapped potential in others. We seek to create a better future. As we do, we develop an elevated way of being and a perspective that is not available to the conventional mind.

Reflection

  • Is it possible that executives do not understand leadership? Why?
  • Who in your life clarifies purpose, inspires action and nurtures learning?
  • What would happen if every supervisor, manager and executive learned to lead? How would your daily experience be different?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?

 

 

 

 

 

Waking People Up

Nick Craig is on fire. He has spent the last decade focused on the concept of purpose, and he has helped thousands of people to find their life purpose. Yesterday I was on the phone with Nick, and he joyfully told me story after story of transformational moments when people were able to state their life mission.

Nick told me about the poverty and desperation of his childhood. One day he was standing in a bookstore when it suddenly became clear that he had to make a decision: “I could continue to live in the victim mentality or I could live in a mentality of possibility. I began to take accountability for my life. Others chose to remain in the victim mentality and we have ended up in very different places.”

Nick said, “My life mission is to wake you up and have you finally be home.” He says he is always helping people look for words that help them articulate what is already inside them. When you find your purpose, you feel like you are home.

Nick’s purpose has driven him to write, and he will soon publish a book called Leading from Purpose. The process of writing is causing him to think even more deeply, and he invited me into his thoughts. He told me our purpose is already wired in; our task is to find it. If we do not find our purpose, we cannot lead from it. When we find it, we awake, we become conscious and aware. In gaining this awareness, we transform. With a new perspective, we gain a sense of meaning and we take accountability. We feel empowered and we gain an increased desire to create and contribute.

When we live in our purpose, we create “good stress.” Instead of living in the retreat response, we live in the challenge response, moving forward, learning, and growing as we seek to create. As we do, we take on a paradoxical quality. Purpose gives us the strength to continue in uncertainty and it gives us vulnerability that comes with doing so. When we are both strong and vulnerable, we have the courage to present our authentic self.

Nick says all of this seemingly personal stuff has implications for organizations. People with a genuine purpose see the potential in others and they seek to link the others to the collective purpose. In every interaction, they are linking the people to the purpose, and when they succeed, “magic happens.” The need for control declines because the people begin to lead themselves. The organization begins to learn and grow.

I asked Nick how he goes about the process of helping people find their purpose. He said he helps them examine their “magical moments in childhood,” their “crucible stories,” and their “life passions.” As people share these, Nick listens deeply and helps them look for the threads.

The moment someone finds their purpose, there is an explosion of discovery and everyone else lights up. “As they listen to the words, everyone in the room gets a tingling in their body.” Nick says, “The test is this question; ‘Does the curious little boy or girl in you suddenly show up? If not, you have not found your purpose.’”

Nick made an interesting observation: “I have studied every religion. I have a network of friends filled with people who are spiritually disciplined or military folks who are members of the Special Forces. I think spiritual discipline and military discipline produce people of higher purpose. Because they are pursuing something bigger than self, they are willing to do the hard thing rather than the easy or the wrong thing. Purpose exposes your integrity gaps; it lets you know the score. Purpose does not let you take a vacation. It will not let you go. It pulls you into the next crucible. Eventually, you begin to see the next crucible as a gift.”

 

Reflection

  • What does this mean? “Eventually you begin to see the next crucible as a gift.”
  • What is your highest personal purpose?
  • What is the highest purpose of your unit?
  • How can we use this passage to create a more positive organization?