FAIL to YOUR SUCCESS!
FAIL—The Success of a 4 Letter Word
Somewhere in our childhood we became conscious of what it means to “fail.”
There was shame in getting an “F” or not understand something. In fact it could become such a powerful social force NOT to fail, you begin to avoid how you could grow. You put yourself inside the very box we want to dismantle.
Many of us have some area of our life that is so “hot” to avoid failure, it often is stopping us from achieving the goals we really want—our dream job, relationships, childhood fantasies we could fulfill if we had the courage to move or go back to school. For many of us today, becoming the best manager of people transformation is what will keep us inspired in whatever path we choose, but that comes with a fear of rocking the boat. What ever you can dream as a goal that brings you engaged inspiration, on its downside there is often a fear of what it will take to achieve it.
What if the new norm is that to FAIL is to Succeed?
This is not the new norm, it is as old as humans themselves, it is just that the early adopters often are creating a trail of innovation for others to follow because most of them would never have had the courage to step out and be the first on the path. In our business world of the last few decades it became important to be perfect, not make mistakes, be cost cutting and revenue high, build your earnings for Wall Street and your peers. Innovation has suffered. We have become a country terrified of failing yet immersed in it in a worldwide global recession of failure.
And from this view we have a wonderful opportunity to grow and be innovative in our thinking out of this box! Think of how this failure could have ended without a dose of healthy perspective, innovation, collaboration and determination.
The man before the mouse, Walt Disney, formed his first animation company in Kansas City in 1921. He made a deal with a distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road. Flushed with success, he began to experiment with new storytelling techniques, his costs went up and then the distributor went bankrupt. He was forced to dissolve his company and at one point could not pay his rent and was surviving by eating dog food. And when he took a train from New York to the west coast, after a painful business failure of betrayal–he was befriended by a little mouse in his compartment and begin sketching him. The rest is history with plenty more spectacular failures and rip roaring successes!
Bring back the Walt Disney’s of the world who thought big, failed big, and kept on sprinkling his Pixie Dust of creativity to build a brand and legacy! Of what it means to fail, succeed and fail again to finally get your wish upon a star… Walt was a “Merlin” of what it means to embrace failure as a Merlin’s stone to success.
Failure according to Walt Disney: “To some people, I am kind of a Merlin who takes lots of crazy chances, but rarely makes mistakes. I’ve made some bad ones, but, fortunately, the successes have come along fast enough to cover up the mistakes. When you go to bat as many times as I do you are bound to get a good average.”
The Walt Disney Company, and all the best organizations of today that inspire innovation such as Pixar, Southwest Airlines, and Joie de Vivre Hospitality, bring in some part of this Creativity Model that drives innovation within company walls.
Up to bat first is a collaborative culture:
- Managers build teams that value honesty and trust.
- Ideas can be expressed honestly and without fear
- They create a peer culture and free up communication across teams
- They embrace a learning environment and empower their employees
- Teams value collaborative discussion and are willing to take creative risks
- The know the cornerstone of a healthy team and organization is the commitment to building genuine relationships where people know that their ideas and inspiration are valued in the overall mission of the organization
- Their Team members have a common understanding of company values, where they fit in the organization and how to focus their creative energy
- The leaders at the top inspire the culture below them. They walk the talk of mission, values and what it takes to learn from successful failure. They value the GNH, the Gross National Happiness of their employees
So reframe your thinking, change perspectives, it takes courage to FAIL and color outside the lines. In fact, many of the Venture Capitalists of today will look for leadership that has had failures in the past. They will have learned from those mistakes and most likely not repeat them in the same way. They know what it means to fail and have kept going to achieve success.
In fact we all do—all of us have experienced what it means to fail and most of these experiences have taught us valuable lessons. Lessons that we share with our staff, and integrate into our personal life.
Some lessons include becoming more playful with intuition and living with ambiguity in decision–making. Seeking collaboration and becoming flexible and quick to act when you know you must take action and could fail. Remember it takes courage to lead a team towards a big success or a celebrated failure but solid lessons will be learned.
The command and control organization of corporate America today is stifling a workforce brimming with creative ideas held in treasure chests inside millions of cubicles. Building a corporate culture of emotional intelligence, which includes the courage to innovate, is how we are going to revitalize our country back into engagement. And this is where all of us are being called upon to FAIL in order to succeed. You will have to be a voice against bullies and an even stronger voice for collaboration and trust building. Building trust with your peers to be something greater as a team than what you can accomplish by yourself is embraced and rewarded by top leadership.
Then give each other the permission to FAIL, one of the best attributes of childhood you can live with for the rest of your life!
Build a culture of Collaborative Leaders Who Excel In Communication and Magical Customer Service Moments!
Big Sky Thinking—Maria Felice Cunningham Chief Transformation Officer
Be Brave Women–Be Brave
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”
These poignant words were quoted in my first session of Leadership California and each day they became more inspirational. Our gender is being called upon to be brave and have the courage to do the hard work of facilitating change. Many generations of young ladies behind us are more than qualified to fill our capitol steps and boardrooms. And by the way, so are we…
Fifty-one powerful women from the class of 2012 came to our state capitol to explore how to engage, and grow women in leadership positions. Not only in governmental positions of power, but in all sectors of business.
And in several conversations with these women, I found that most of us did not have a female mentor who helped us grow in our positions and in knowledge. Yet when someone did, their eyes sparkled with gratitude and their jobs were filled with commitment. The elephant laughing in this living room has been waiting for us to call it out and name it. We are not championing each other.
More often than not, women have not been helping other women to succeed in business in the same way that men have built their networks. So the positions of leadership we could occupy are not being filled by our gender unless we value elevating one another.
Ladies, we need to link arms and step forward into the leadership positions that await our talents!
Recently, McKinsey Research has taken a leadership stand in understanding the role of women in leadership in the business world, and what is keeping us out of positions of power. When the McKinsey Women Matter team asked corporate executives around the world what they valued in leadership attributes, these four skills were more commonly found in women:
- Intellectual stimulation
- Participatory decision—making or collaboration with all stake holders
- Setting expectations and building rewards
There are more women attending college today than men yet the leaking talent pipeline has continued to favor men in positions of power—why? Women start out their careers ready to take on the world and then they hit a wall. The invisible wall of juggling a family, going back to school to further their education or being the caretaker for their parents. These commitments, when married to the “face time” that has been the norm in positions of power traditionally held by men—have become the breaking point for women stepping off the career track. The current paradigm of company thinking rewards those who have a wife, not necessarily those who are a wife, mother, partner, adventurer or want a life!
I experienced this when my children were not yet in school. I was actually told a job would not fit me when they found out the age of my children. My commitment would be split at times they feared, and yes, they were right. Yet I knew I would have worked harder to succeed just because of this situation. In fact I continued on to do just this as my career progressed. But with the birth of my third child, I had to turn down juicy career advancing jobs because I was a mother first—the hours required would have adversely affected my family.
This paradigm will never change unless we as a gender make a commitment to encouraging work cultures that value job sharing, flex-time, work at home options and family values practiced at all executive positions. This is not only about sanity in a world that is communication saturated, this mindset allows for the thinking, dreaming and the innovation that comes when you are given time for free space creation.
So how do we change embedded management mindsets? The current adopted mindsets on WHY a woman cannot do a particular job due to other commitments?
It is well known that men have advanced based on potential while women rise based on performance. Since it takes much longer to build a legacy of performance, the men step into positions of leadership faster—a very frustrating circle for many women in middle management.
Yet if women in HR and management have the mindset of making sure they are advancing other women based on THEIR potential, what a difference that small change in behavior would make across company management and executive positions globally! The change that wants to emerge is being felt by all of us women. We have to help one another transition company thinking to one of embracing women in positions of leadership and helping one another to get there.
In other words, we need to be brave.
We must have the courage to speak up for our peers and mentor their growth. Changing a current management mindset takes a great deal of energy—plus you must also be prepared for the push back.
Continue on and be brave, be strong–have courage. This is a long journey that requires our dedication to modeling the exceptional leadership skills of women and how they influence the success of companies, families, communities and global politics.
Our legacy is laid out for us on what needs to change. So what will you do differently now and will you speak up? When your voice is trembling because you have chosen to push back against old thinking–remember to stay brave.
You have generations of women all standing behind you.
Maria Felice Cunningham
Big Sky Thinking
Class of 2012
Culture & Revenue
Creating a Company of Leadership and Coach Communication
Where People Love To Be Engaged in Their Work!
What makes going to work feel like more than a job?
Trust seems to be the magical ingredient in company alchemy that is required for inspired employee engagement and powerful management to employee relationships. And good companies work hard to develop the trust needed for employees to engage and stay completely committed to company mission and values.
While trust among co-workers is crucial, it is rarely universal unless the trust between employees and their managers is a core value of the organizations management values. By building superior levels of trust:
• Managers get the very best efforts from their people
• It is normal to produce bolder ideas
• Increased creativity and better problem solving
• Innovative thinking and team collaboration
• Increased productivity with a willingness to be BIG
• Plus a greater dedication to the team goals and company mission.
And let’s be very clear, these conscious workplaces are built with a conscious dedication to leadership and coach communication skills and training.
All employees want to feel like they are a part of something bigger, they want to be happy, have their contributions felt and acknowledged and to be in the mindset of feeling grateful. We are programmed as human storytellers to be constantly looking for feelings and trying to make sense of them. Great leadership and communication training is how you narrate a company story of success and build a consensus of positive behaviors.
Because Awesome companies train to establish superior levels of trust, they also attract and retain the very best talent the market has to offer. The bottom line is that trust breeds safety, pride and enthusiasm among employees. All of us can look back at some great management we have experienced and remember what it feels like to be a part of something bigger because of our efforts. It just makes you happy!
In order to build management and mission in any company large or small, leaders must openly model a very specific set of behaviors and best practices—and then they need to be trained and embraced by every level within the organization.
Alive and Engaged Employees Grow a Company!
Here is some research from the Great Place To Work Institute®, which produces Fortune’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list. According to the Institute, the benefits of creating a best place to work include:
• Better financial performance and better preparation to weather economic downturns
• Higher profitability and productivity
• Superior levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty
• Elevated levels of innovation, creativity and risk taking
• A reduction in the negative effects of stress on employees
• Enhanced public perception as an organization trusted by clients and customers.
In addition to these findings, the Institute also published an article a few years ago in which it showed that money invested in the companies making up the ‘100 Best’ list would have returned nearly three times more than the same amount invested in S&P 500 companies over a six-year period. These findings are for larger companies but I assure you they translate into a company of any size.
Once you know the difference that workplace attitude can bring about in long term profits and employee happiness and connectivity, it is difficult for any leader to ignore what it takes to build a company that is meant to last.
Employees Value Happiness, Family and the Time To Grow over Money:
Really, Happiness is the new money. Leaders in best workplaces must champion work-life programs and practices that clearly demonstrate how much you value your people by embracing flex-time, work at home options, further education for inspired employees, emotional education leadership training, internal coaching to grow management, child care and elder care programs, and development of employee and company leadership values as a continuing effort to grow internally and externally in long term ROI.
An Awesome Place to Work
Creating an awesome place to work isn’t about seeing your company’s name on a list. You have to define and live your organizational values out loud and with a lot of effort from top management on down to the employees at every level.
Along with culture you are constantly improving your competitive position and reaping an extremely compelling set of organizational benefits including greater profitability, improved collaboration and innovation, better retention of top talent, leaders who want to grow and advance and of course, long-term profits.
Organizations that strive to create a culture of leadership and employee engagement are among the most successful businesses in their sectors with revenues and market positions that can only be won by superior performance.
These are organizations where employees are inspired to give their best, to collaborate and perform to the highest standards. They also excel in the areas of hiring practices, diversity and communication.
Yes, pay and benefits are part of the equation for attracting the best talent, but earning the reputation as a company where people love to engage with their peers, are committed to long-term profits and have managers who help them grow in their competency.
Well it seems clear to Big Sky Thinking, this is what all leaders should strive to create in their workplaces for all the right reasons.Read more
Insurance Costs Rise With Under Developed Communication Skills
If you want to create a culture of growth and innovation, the new skills needed for success are all focused on how we speak to one another and listen with intent. The most important asset in your organization is not your donors or funders. It is your human capital and how your management engages and inspires them—this skill will determine the long-term success of your nonprofit mission.
Our innovative workshops are designed to begin building the communication and creativity muscles that are the foundation needed to retain, engage and grow inspired employees. As you develop each level of engagement, you will build successful internal programs that help manage your insurance claim risks and engages your staff to step into leadership behaviors.
Being connected with fellow employees, with service providers and with our customers, builds trust and allows transparent authentic communication that avoids misunderstandings. Most of the problems that happen in business are the result of improper or no communication awareness, where a solid relationship of commitment needs to be in place. In this workshop we will show how you can create powerful relationships with your staff. These learned emotional communication skills could not only avoid problems, but also actually create profitability, efficiency, and loyalty. We will give specific skills and tools that help build a strong relational architecture within each individual, and across all departmental and organizational levels.
- Taking Responsibility for Effective Conversations
- Shh, slow down and Listen
- Developing A Deep, Strong Respect for Team Members
- Designing Clear Agreements for Working with Each Other
- Creating Safety and Trust
- Managing Uncomfortable Conversations
- Stepping into Accountability and Leadership—The Key To Risk Management that Works!
- Curiosity is Key
- Working with Positive intent
Management and Leadership Organizational Competencies
1. Organizing and Staffing—do you have the right people in the right job?
2. Promoting Change—Do you work with your broker each quarter to establish claims patterns, open workers comp claims, workshops available to you from your insurance carrier and create risk management improvements?
3. Establishing Direction—Developing a vision for the future and letting your employees come up with their plan to improve their safety programs and awareness of risk factors.
4. Aligning People—delegating authority to carry out plans—creating policies and procedures that bring clarity to job position.
5. Telling the Story of your Organizational Values and aligning them with your employees positions and job growth.
6. Creating an engaged culture that understands Risk Management and the value to your employees’ health, well being and your mission.