Leader's Digest #36 (February 2020)

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LEADERS ISSUE 36

FEBRUARY 2020

DIGEST

COLLABORATIVE

WORKPLACE


LEADERS

DIGEST

Publication Team EDITORIAL

Editor-in-Chief Ismail Said Assistant Editor Diana Marie Capel Graphic Designer Awang Ismail bin Awang Hambali Abdul Rani Haji Adenan

* Read our online version to access the hyperlinks to other reference articles made by the author.

Contents

ISSUE 36 I FEBRUARY 2020

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LEADERS, ARE YOU TOO EASILY OFFENDED?

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5 SECRETS TO MASTERING CONFLICT

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THE SIX PILLARS OF VIBRANT WORKPLACE CULTURE

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LEARNING THROUGH COLLABORATION: SOCIAL E-LEARNING

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PUNCTUALITY AND YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

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BOOK REVIEW: ARE YOU AFRAID OF BEING AN ORIGINAL IN A WORLD FULL OF CONFORMISTS?

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ARE CSR AND SUSTAINABILITY THE NEW MAGNETS FOR TOP TALENTS?

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Read this issue and past issues online at bit.ly/LEADSCS Scan the QR code below for quicker access:

Content Partners:

Leader’s Digest is a monthly publication by the Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service, dedicated to advancing civil service leadership and to inspire our Sarawak Civil Service (SCS) leaders with contemporary leadership principles. It features a range of content contributed by our strategic partners and panel of advisors from renowned global institutions as well as established corporations that we are affiliated with. Occasionally, we have guest contributions from our pool of subject matter experts as well as from our own employees. The views expressed in the articles published are not necessarily those of Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service Sdn. Bhd. (292980-T). No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the publisher’s permission in writing.

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“Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.” - Ralph Marston

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Leaders, Are You too Easily Offended? BY DAN ROCKWELL

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Leadership gets narrow and life shrinks for the easily offended. All leaders receive unjust criticism. You’re judged based on inadequate information, false assumptions, or someone’s unspoken preferences. It’s better to focus on OUR own responsibilities, but it’s easier to know what OTHERS should do. The negative impact of taking offence: i. Coddling an offence limits your potential. ii. Unresolved offences become excuses for poor performance. iii. Rehearsing offences marginalizes your talent. iv. Focusing on offences shrinks your ability to influence because of isolation. v. Buried offences make you brittle.

People lie to protect thin-skinned leaders.

#2. Get a bigger cup. If you’re easily offended, you’re constantly in turmoil. Learn to overlook minor offences. When pebbles keep you up at night, don’t expect to find rest. You can’t maximize someone’s strengths when you focus on their weakness. There is a measure of “putting up with” in all relationships. Stop picking at little scabs or they’ll get infected. Forgiveness expands your capacity to navigate offences. The issue you can’t forgive is the lid of personal growth and useful service. The ability to integrate offences expands your capacity to serve. #3. Bring up issues with purpose in mind. Sometimes you can’t un-smell a stink. When you bring it up… Determine what you want before you bring up an offence.

Resolving offences:

Offences are secondary matters.

1. What do you want FROM others? 2. What do you want FOR others? 3. If you successfully resolve the offence, what will be different? 4. What are you prepared to do to achieve what you want?

You might think offences are the problem. But the real issue is how YOU respond to offences.

When you can’t resolve offences, YOU become toxic. The Dead Sea is dead because it hangs on to everything.

Your response to offence lets everyone see what’s in your heart.

What suggestions do you have for easily offended leaders?

#1. It’s about YOU, not the offence.

Dan Rockwell

Dan Rockwell is a coach and speaker and is freakishly interested in leadership. He is an author of a world-renowned leadership blog, Leadership Freak.

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The

Six Pillars

of Vibrant Workplace Culture BY COLIN D ELLIS

There’s never been a better time to be in HR. For the first time, employee experience has been brought to the fore and C-suite members are talking about the importance of so many cultural elements. Diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, flexibility, workspace design, enhanced collaboration and innovation. However, HR cannot be passive in its approach to this transformation. For too long they’ve taken a back seat and not gone into bat for money and time to develop culture and watched on as demanding chief information (and later digital) officers have secured millions for technology enhancements, all of which require – ironically – culture change.

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The rise of agile is the latest quick-fix approach to cultural evolution and will fail as so many fads have failed before as the foundational elements of culture aren’t changed to make way for greater flexibility of delivery.

The importance of culture Culture pervades through everything that’s done on a dayto-day basis, from the behaviour of senior leaders in large global organisations to the way that a sports team trains for a game at the weekend. It dictates where people sit in a classroom, how meetings are run in an office, how decisions are made on a ship, how construction projects are delivered, how orchestras play together and how clothes are marketed online. And it belongs to everyone.


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HR Directors may be the custodians of culture, but they don’t own it, and this is often misunderstood by those who engage consultants to do cultural evolution work on behalf of their staff. These efforts will flounder because only those with dayto-day responsibility for culture can change it. When time and effort is allowed for the staff to define what a vibrant culture looks like it can produce the following benefits: • • • • • •

Increased productivity Higher sales Improved safety Higher engagement Reduced operating costs Faster time to market

Where culture work isn’t undertaken, then the organisation risks stagnation and stagnant cultures – according to Gallup in their State of the American Workforce survey – cost US businesses alone over $500bn per year!

What are the six pillars of culture? Culture change work is often avoided because of the perceived complexity or unknowns of it. Yet cultures will evolve on a day-to-day basis regardless, so it’s important to declare it as a priority and get cracking. But where to start?!

you reset expectations and hold people to them. Diversity and inclusion, performance management and recognition and reward are important tools for upholding what’s been agreed. 5. Collaboration The word collaboration is used frequently in cultures all around the world, but all too often seems to mean ‘meeting’. When done well collaboration makes good uses of technology, encourages streamlined processes and provides workspaces where everyone can do their best work. 6. Innovation Without new ideas and challenging existing cultural norms, many organisations risk becoming the next Kodak. Innovation doesn’t belong in a special hub with special people, it lives inside everyone and all they need is the time to use data to be creative and learn quickly from failure.

Making it stick Culture evolution involves a systemic change of almost everything within an organisation, but with the right level of commitment and determination, it’s achievable. By ensuring that each of the six pillars is addressed by those that are part of the culture, HR Directors can ensure that they remain pivotal to the organisation and its people hitting their targets, for years to come.

Here are the six pillars of vibrant workplace culture: 1. Personality and Communication The way into any culture is through its people and the way that they communicate with each other. Personality surveys can be an effective mechanism for improving empathy and communication, however, all too often they put people in boxes and create only short-term interest rather than improved self-awareness 2. Vision At the heart of vibrant cultures is an aspirational statement of the future. A short but powerful statement that inspires those that work within the organisation and talent from outside. It’s achievable at a stretch and sets the tone for the strategic intent. 3. Values When done well, values can be an incredible asset to an organisation but do not use them as a weapon. Identifying and defining them is an important exercise and staying true to them requires courage and determination. 4. Behaviour It’s crucial that the behaviours expected of everyone within a culture are known and understood because only then can

Colin D Ellis

Colin D Ellis is a culture change expert, an award-winning international speaker and a best-selling author. His latest book ‘Culture Fix: How to Create a Great Place to Work’ has seen him travel all over the world to help organisations transform the way they get things done.

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Punctuality & Your Personal Brand BY ZU ANJALIKA KAMIS GUNNULFSEN

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Depending on the country you are in, there are different perspectives on punctuality. I used to live in Norway where punctuality is the biggest thing ever. Almost no one was ever late, the whole seven years I was there. People take being on time seriously. If at any given time, someone is indeed going to be late, they will ensure the host or the waiting parties know of this. The way I see it, the respect of others’ time is tremendous in Norway. However, in many places, punctuality is almost non-existent. So, let’s take a look at what punctuality is and why it is important to be on time. When you look into the dictionary, the definition of punctuality is the act of being on time and being able to do tasks within the stipulated time. In essence, it means being somewhere and doing things at the required time. Why is it important to be punctual and why is it linked so much to your personal brand? Punctuality shows you can be depended on For most successful people, their time is their most valuable asset. To be made to wait might mean losing money for these people; hence you are causing them to lose their essential asset. Punctuality is associated with integrity Having a great sense of integrity surely puts you on some sort of pedestal. Everyone loves to deal with someone with integrity. Let’s face it, any sort of appointment made is like a promise to the other person that you’ll be there at the stipulated time. If you fail to do that, you actually have broken your promise and this will have quite a bit of a repercussion to your reputation. Punctuality brings out the best in you I do not know about you but whenever I am late for an appointment, stress builds up and makes it harder for me to concentrate on the event itself; be it a meeting, dinner, or even a movie. The opposite happens when I am early. Punctuality boosts your self-confidence Punctuality definitely affects how you feel and view yourself. It is indeed a valuable quality of an individual. As time goes by, you will rely on yourself more because you are in the habit of keeping your promise, which in turn will contribute to your self-discipline as well. When confident and disciplined, your organisation skills will also take leaps. The way I see it, everything is interrelated and supports each other.

Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen is the Marketing In Asia’s editor for Singapore. She is also a certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Consultant. Born in Singapore and blessed to have lived in a couple of other amazing cities in the world, Anjalika is currently expatriating in Kuala Lumpur.

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ARE CSR AND SUSTAINABILITY THE NEW MAGNETS FOR TOP TALENTS? BY ANNIE BUTTON

Attracting and retaining the right talent is a fundamental building block for business success. But recruiting staff and keeping them is getting harder. Putting together a team of exceptional people is much more than simply getting hires in with the right skills and paying them a decent salary. Demand for labour is strong, and ambitious candidates are getting increasingly picky about who they work for. Brand voice and business culture when it comes to recruitment and retaining people matter much more now than most businesses realise. Corporate social responsibility programs (CSR) and environmental strategies are taking centre stage in the list of things exceptional candidates expect from a business. CSR and sustainability can be viewed as new magnets for talent. Here’s why.

MILLENNIAL WORKFORCE DEMANDS How to engage millennials in the workplace is hot in the press, for good reason: By 2025, millennials will make up threequarters of the workforce. Forbes has reported that millennials “put an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, have a great reverence for the environment, place higher worth on acquiring experiences than material things, and are adept at building communities around shared interests.” Research by Gallup says that millennials are currently the least engaged generation in the workforce, with only 29 percent engaged, 55 percent not engaged and 16 percent actively disengaged. The 2019 Deloitte Global Millennial Survey states that “Millennials’ opinions about business continues to diminish, in part due to views that businesses focus solely on their own agendas rather than considering the consequences for society.” Engaging and retaining millennials is the new business productivity puzzle.

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Cunningham goes on to say that, “An increasing number of companies are also considering bigger projects, such as installing biomass boilers, ground source heat pumps or solar panels in a wider move to support environmental sustainability.” CSR SURGING IN POPULARITY John Clese, director of CSR Solutions, a software company that creates solutions to enable businesses to offer CSR programs, argues that CSR is surging in popularity in business largely because millennials demand meaningful CSR initiatives from their employers. WHY SUSTAINABILITY IN BUSINESS MATTERS We have much to thank the digital age for. Enhanced transparency is just one of its benefits. The era of information is upon us. Among the daily flood of information is news that we are heading for a climate catastrophe is everywhere. Couple digital transparency with the opinions of the millennial generation and it’s not hard to see how sustainability has become an attractive strategy for businesses, for both brand promotion and attracting talent. Millennials are educated, knowledgeable and socially aware. They are committed to sustainability, equality, climate change, peace and justice. They demand sustainable and ethical business practices both as employees and as consumers. Millennials are a huge generation that simply can’t be ignored. The American clothing company, Patagonia, was founded more than four decades ago. The business has always been focused on sustainability and the environment. It embodies a responsibility to proactively do good. The company is a huge success story. It’s a brand millennials love. Energy consultancy, Geo Green Power, says they have seen a surge in businesses making the move to more sustainable energy options. “The number of businesses contacting us for energy consultancy is growing year on year. Businesses are starting to take the issue of climate change and sustainability seriously,” says Kitty Cunningham, operations director. “Companies are making simple changes from switching energy supplier to conserving energy by addressing things like insulation and changing to LED lighting.”

This, he says, isn’t because they have the luxury of choosing where they work in today’s labour market, but is due to the fact that millennials have a genuine desire to have purpose.

“Young people in the workforce today are more purpose-driven than any other generation before them, and to me, this is the most significant difference between the generations and the driving force behind CSR programs,” Clese explains.

Many larger corporations have long seen the difference CSR programs can make to employee engagement, and also in attracting and retaining talent. Smaller businesses are now seeing they too can benefit from making an investment in the local community through CSR. Multinational professional services network, PwC, says in its study on people management that corporate responsibility is no longer an altruistic nice-to-have, but a business imperative. Their research found that 90 percent of US respondents actively seek out employers whose corporate responsibility behaviour reflects their own. “New graduates look for employers with strong environmental and social credentials; in response, HR departments play a key role in developing the corporate social responsibility program.” The report also highlights a popular post-2010 trend: Candidates now look for incentives such as paid secondments to work for social projects and needy causes. There is overwhelming evidence to suggest CSR and sustainability are the latest ways to attract talent. This is good news for millennials, society and the planet.

Annie Button

Annie Button is a writer who specialises in business growth and development. Annie shares her experiences and knowledge through blog posts in a variety of publications.

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5 SECRETS

TO MASTERING CONFLICT BY DR TRAVIS BRADBERRY & JOSEPH GRENNY

Between the two of us, we’ve spent 50 years studying what makes people successful at work. A persistent finding in both of our research is that your ability to handle moments of conflict has a massive impact on your success. How you handle conflict determines the amount of trust, respect, and connection you have with your colleagues. Conflict typically boils down to crucial conversations— moments when the stakes are high, emotions run strong and op­­­­­­­inions differ. And you cannot master crucial conversations without a high degree of emotional intelligence (EQ). With a mastery of conflict being so critical to your success, it’s no wonder that, among the million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested, more than 90% of top performers have high EQs. So how can you use emotional intelligence to master crucial conversations? There are five common mistakes you must avoid, and five alternative strategies you can follow that will take you down the right path. Mistake #1: Being Brutally Honest You’ve suffered in silence long enough. Your colleague continues to park so close to your car that you have to enter through the passenger door. You’ve asked her before to stop. After a dozen more violations of your request, you decide you’ve suffered long enough. Clearly, she needs to know what

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you think of her intentional disrespect. So you let her have it. You get right in her face and tell her what an inconsiderate jerk she is. How to beat this? Honesty without brutality. From a young age, we’re taught to believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend—that the only options are brutality or harmony. With emotional intelligence, you can speak the truth without burning a bridge. Have you ever noticed how some conversations—even ones about very risky subjects—go very well? And others, even ones about trivial things, can degenerate into combat? The antidote to conflict is not diluting your message. It’s creating safety. Many people think the content of the conversation is what makes people defensive, so they assume it’s best to just go for it and be brutally honest. It isn’t. People don’t get defensive because of the content—they get defensive because of the intent they perceive behind it. It isn’t the truth that hurts—it’s the malice used to deliver the truth. Mistake #2: Robotically Sharing Your Feelings Some well-intentioned “communication” professionals suggest that when it’s time to speak up, the diplomatic way to do so is to start by sharing your feelings. For example, you tell your parking-impaired colleague, “I feel rage and disgust.” Somehow that’s supposed to help. It doesn’t. People don’t work this way. Robotically sharing your feeling only alienates, annoys and confuses them.


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How to beat this? Start with the facts. Our brains often serve us poorly during crucial conversations. In order to maximize cognitive efficiency, our minds store feelings and conclusions, but not the facts that created them. That’s why, when you give your colleague negative feedback and he asks for an example, you often hem and haw. You truly can’t remember. So you repeat your feelings or conclusions but offer very few helpful facts. Gathering the facts beforehand is the homework required to master crucial conversations. Before opening your mouth, think through the basic information that helped you think or feel the way you do—and prepare to share it first. Mistake #3: Defending Your Position When someone takes an opposing view on a topic you care deeply about, the natural human response is ‘defence’. Our brains are hard-wired to assess for threats, but when we let feelings of being threatened hijack our behaviour, things never end well. In a crucial conversation, getting defensive is a surefire path to failure. How to beat this? Get curious. A great way to inoculate yourself against defensiveness is to develop a healthy doubt about your own certainty. Then, enter the conversation with an intense curiosity about the other person’s world. Give yourself a detective’s task of discovering why a reasonable, rational and decent person would think the way he or she does. As former Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, “The best way to persuade others is with your ears, by listening.” When others feel deeply understood, they become far more open to hearing from you.

How to beat this? Determine the risks of not speaking up. The fastest way to motivate yourself to step up to difficult conversations is to simply articulate the costs of not speaking up. VitalSmarts‘ research shows that those who consistently speak up aren’t necessarily more courageous; they’re simply more accurate. First, they scrupulously review what is likely to happen if they fail to speak up. Second, they ponder what might happen if they speak up and things go well. And finally (the order is important) they consider what may happen if the conversation goes poorly. Once they have an accurate understanding of the possibilities, saying something is their typical choice. Bringing It All Together The only way to win an argument is to never have one in the first place. Successful people know this—they don’t avoid conflict because they can do something productive with it before things get out of hand. Apply these strategies the next time you’re facing a challenging situation and you’ll be amazed by the results.

Mistake #4: Blaming Others for Your Situation advocated for your colleague instead. You feel betrayed and angry. Certainly, your boss is the one responsible for your pain—right? Truth is, she’s not the only one. How to beat this? Challenge your perspective. When we feel threatened, we amplify our negative emotions by blaming other people for our problems. You cannot master conflict until you recognize the role you’ve played in creating your circumstances. Your boss may have passed you over, but she did so for a reason. Half your pain is the result of her betrayal; the other half is due to your disappointment over not performing well enough to win the promotion. Mistake #5: Worrying About the Risks of Speaking Up It’s easy for crucial conversations to fill you with dread. Under the influence of such stress, your negative self-talk takes over and you obsess over all the bad things that might happen if you speak up. You conjure images of conflict, retribution, isolation and pain until you retreat into silence.

Joseph Grenny

Joseph Grenny coauthored this post with me. Joseph is a four-time New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for business performance at VitalSmarts. Joseph is the coauthor of Crucial Conversations, Influencer, Crucial Accountability, and Change Anything.

Dr. Travis Bradberry

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

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Learning Through Collaboration:

SOCIAL E-LEARNING BY GEETHA BAI PARAMASIVAN

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The modern workplace is a constantly changing environment where the challenges are dynamic and agility becomes the key to survival.

This opens up avenues for collaborative discussions and communication that benefits the organisation as a whole by facilitating interdepartmental knowledge exchange.

Agility and the ability to adapt are important to ensure that the workforce is equipped to handle changes.

Employees who have sufficient access to interaction with their peers are able to work more efficiently to solve their problems.

It’s more crucial now than ever that workplaces consider more collaborative ways of working, to find answers to questions that cannot be answered by individuals working in isolation.

Employee motivation improves when they are able to weigh in or take charge in troubleshooting problems to look for solutions faced by their organisations, whether through discussion or collaboration.

As more learning opportunities present themselves in the workplace, a collaborative environment allows for troubleshooting, problem-solving, design implementation, research and development, as well as innovation to find answers and solutions even in the absence of a coach or mentor. Ideally, a direct result of this would be an improvement in workplace productivity while the people within the organisation are constantly growing. One of the most influential learning theories is the social learning theory, first introduced by psychologist Albert Bandura in 1977, who integrated the concepts of cognitive learning theory and behavioural learning theory to come up with four requirements for learning. These requirements are learning through observation, retention, reproduction and motivation.

The simple act of facilitating employee engagement helps to zero in on areas that require improvement within the organisation. There are numerous benefits of social eLearning and by providing the right environment, users have the opportunity to a more flexible learning structure either with or without a structured curricular framework. This non-structured learning occurs towards social eLearning that is geared towards a more collaborative mechanism. This way, users who would normally experience time and geographical differences are able to communicate without constraint. Users can swap information, share tips and tools, exchange knowledge as well as collaborate on projects and papers. With the correct voice and video tools, social eLearning becomes highly collaborative, transcending distance and time.

“Employee motivation improves when they are able to weigh in or take charge in troubleshooting problems to look for solutions faced by their organisations, whether through discussion or collaboration.�

Find out how employees can mutually benefit each other and the organisation through collaboration.

This theory explores the idea that there is a social element to learning, albeit a rather informal method of learning that determines its effectiveness.

With the right set of rules and guidelines, employees not only have the benefit of keeping abreast of the developments within the organisation but are also able to post feedback and suggestions.

The social media boom has been a huge driving factor in propagating eLearning. While in the past, eLearning was created to centre on engaging and interactive multimedia content, it often lacked the benefits of informal learning resulting from human interaction.

Organisations too can leverage on the features of social learning platforms by using it as a virtual notice board of sorts for events, training sessions, and also post updates of on goings and organisational changes.

This works in the favour of the organisation as it allows real time feedback, and in turn increases efficiency and productivity.

In fact, social learning management systems leverage on this by taking a more social approach to learning. Social learning management systems act as a social intranet that allows users to gain knowledge by using the content provided on the platform as well as by sharing their own knowledge and experience on this platform.

Geeta Bai Paramasivan

Geetha was the digital learning content development leader at Leaderonomics.

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Book review

BY SANDY CLARKE

“I thought I was pretty good at teaching myself – until I read Tara Westover’s memoir Educated. Her ability to learn on her own blows mine right out of the water.”

Are You Afraid Of Being

An Original

In A World Full Of Conformists? BY MARK C CROWLEY

During the first few weeks of 2016, we said our goodbyes to three hugely imaginative non-conformists: David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey.

Give and Take, Grant has written Originals, which upends the notion that ordinary people can’t make a meaningful mark in the world.

Each made an enormous impact on the world, and their respective works will surely continue to influence the generations after them.

Drawing on exhaustive research, Grant shows us that people who move the world forward with original ideas are much more like the rest of us than we may otherwise have imagined.

The deaths of famous people like these actually tend to weigh heavily on our individual psyches.

The book’s fundamental encouragement is that we all can – and should – reach higher in our lives. None of us was put on earth to be small.

Reflecting on how their work affected us personally, we grieve their loss much in the way we would a family member’s or a close friend’s. But we also take things one big step further. Often unconsciously, we take stock of our own lives in the context of theirs.

Roads less travelled

Psychologists have discovered that there are two paths of achievement in life: conformity and originality. Conformity means following the crowd down conventional paths and sustaining the status quo.

We wonder about our influence in the world, what our legacies will be.

“There are so few originals in life, because people are afraid to speak up and stand out.”

Many of us question whether the work we do has significance and come away feeling distressed by the comparison.

“Originality,” says Grant, “is taking the road less travelled, championing a set of novel ideas to go against the grain, but ultimately make things better.”

So, the release of an inspiring book by Wharton professor, Adam Grant couldn’t be better timed. Author of the ground-breaking New York Times bestseller

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Most of us have unfounded beliefs about the downsides of what would happen if we did step up.


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Renowned business executive Mellody Hobson once observed that “there are so few originals in life, because people are afraid to speak up and stand out.” But Originals proves that fear needlessly prevents us from maximizing our own potential. In a conversation I had with Grant, he told me: “After spending years studying and interacting with truly original people, I am struck that their inner experience is not different from our own. “What sets them apart is that, despite their fears, they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”

Universal aspirations

Interestingly, many of the most successful entrepreneurs in society appear to dislike risk more than the rest of us. We’ve all heard that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft. But Grant points out that he actually took a leave of absence from the university and didn’t withdraw until later − when he could be reasonably certain of the success of the software he’d created. Sara Blakely, the billionaire inventor of Spanx, also hedged her risk. For two years, she stayed in her full-time job selling fax machines until she fully refined the prototype that she ultimately brought to market. “Most successful originals are not daredevils who leap before they look,” Grant says.

“Most of us want to be more original.” Grant says. He adds, “If you look at the American culture, individuality, selfexpression, and uniqueness are huge priorities.”

“They’re the ones who reluctantly tiptoe to the edge of a cliff, calculate the rate of descent, triple-check their parachutes, and set up a safety net at the bottom, just in case.”

Yet despite these being our core cultural values, because of a sense of risk, many of us lean toward fitting in rather than standing out.

Regret weighs tonnes

“We all have ideas that could improve the world around us − whether in our own workplace, community, or families,” Grant told me, “and most of the time, we don’t speak up.”

Instead, it’s those who fail to take action in life who end up saying, “I wish I had given it a try. I should have taken a little more initiative. I should have gone out on a limb.”

“Most successful originals are not daredevils who leap before they look.”

Grant believes that what really holds most people back from realising their full potential is that they idolise people who appear to be larger-than-life originals.

The fear of being squashed and the expectation that sharing our ideas will prove futile are two of the biggest reasons we lay low. But Grant says most of us have unfounded beliefs about the downsides of what would happen if we did step up. “A lot of people walk around with the theory that if you speak your mind, you’re going to cut your boss’s throat, and you may suffer as a result,” he says. “And most of the people who believe this have never seen this happen to anyone! Of course, challenges to the status quo should always be proposed thoughtfully and professionally. “But the odds that things will go well are much higher than most of us think.”

Original thinkers are human, too

Research shows that there are very few people who speak up, champion new ideas, and end up regretting it.

“I hear it from students all the time,” he says. “‘I’m never going to be a Steve Jobs, so why bother trying?’” But the guidance Grant offers his students ultimately applies to just about everyone: “We overlook all the ways just adopting a little more originality in our day-to-day lives can make the world more interesting, if not better. There are just so many different opportunities to seize and say, ‘I’m going to see if there’s a better way to do this.’” Most of us will never sell 100 million records, act in a Hollywood movie, or perform before thousands of screaming fans, but we may not have to. The lesson of Originals − in the words of Bowie − is that we still can be heroes.

Grant’s very clear intention is to show that originals pee and poop like everyone else. “People who move the world forward with original ideas are rarely paragons of conviction and commitment,” he writes. “They grapple with fear, ambition, and self-doubt.”

Sandy Clarke Mark spent over 25 years as a senior executive in financial services, and now is a leadership speaker and consultant. His book, “Lead From The Heart,” is now being taught at four American universities.

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SPARTAN SARAWAK 2020

@ LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE OF SARAWAK CIVIL SERVICE, KUCHING APRIL 04 - 05 2020

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LEADERS

DIGEST

The Leadership Institute takes pride in once again hosting the venue for the SPARTAN Sarawak Sprint/Super/Trail 2020. Born in the gritty green mountains of Vermont by Joe DeSena, world-class adventure racer, Spartan describe themselves as “a frame of mind”. Spartan Race is innovating obstacle racing on a global scale. With more than 130 races around the world annually the race offers three core races each escalating in distance, obstacle count and challenge level. This year 4,000 racers are expected to participate in the run which will be divided into four categories. The Spartan Sprint (5K/20 obstacles), the Spartan Super (10K/ 25 obstacles) and Spartan Beast (Half Marathon/ 30 obstacles). Courses are riddled with signature obstacles: mud, barbed wire, walls, rope and fire. Those who challenge themselves to complete all three become part of the TRIFECTA tribe. The race also offers a kid’s race (½ – 1 mile), Special Spartans (for racers with intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities), and for those who looking to push themselves even further, the Hurricane Heat (bootcamp-style challenge) and the Ultra (50K, 60 obstacles). The year 2019 saw two employees from the Leadership Institute participate and finishing in this race. Very proud of them indeed! Check out some of the more common Spartan obstacles on the link below. https://www.spartanrace.my

Issue 36 I February 2020

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Building Leaders of Excellence

Leadership Institute of Sarawak Civil Service KM20, Jalan Kuching Serian, Semenggok, 93250 Kuching, Sarawak. Telephone : +6082-625166 Fax : +6082-625966 E-mail : info@leadinstitute.com.my