Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making Sense of the House of Commons: A Tale of Personal Power

I finally figured out why they call our parliament the "House of Commons". Its always seemed an ironic name to me. Watch even 20 minutes of Parliament on TV and you'll soon realize our political parties share very little in common. But I've finally figured it out...

It turns out that the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP and their followers seem to share this one thing in common: a mistrust of BIG.

Canadians on the political left tend to have a mistrust or dislike of Big Business.
Canadians on the political right tend to have a mistrust or dislike of Big Government.

So no matter where you are on the political spectrum it is a great time to remind yourself of the power of one (one being you) in your relationship with Big.

Here are 4 fundamental truths regarding your relationship with BIG:

1) As Big Wins so do you.

2) As Big Loses so do you.

1 & 2 provide compelling reasons to give our best in each area of our life. Give your best to your company, your family, pay your fair share of taxes etc. You will never lose always committing your best.

3) As You Win so does Big.

4) As You Lose so does Big.

3 & 4 speak to the inherent interest BIG has in meeting your needs to keep you growing as a productive member of their "society/company".

If you are giving your all to BIG and are unhappy about the environment they are providing, they need to know about it. You need to ask for what you need and what you want.

You'll be shocked with how many times getting changes to make it a more fulfilling place to be is simply a matter of spitting it out, saying it, asking the question! If you don't , if you keep it inside and grow an attitude of disgruntlement you are going to waste a whole bunch of your time and BIG loses as you lose the motivation to provide your best.

So.. what to do?:

1) If your government is not giving you what you need and want, be active in asking for change. Participate in democracy. If they don't after that, use the power of your vote to elect someone else. (kick the bums out, as certain members of my family would say).

2) If your company is not giving you what you need and want, be active in asking for it. If they don't after that, ask yourself a simple question:

Do I stay or Do I go?

If the issue is minor and you can honestly drop it without carrying a grudge. i.e you might say "If this is the worst thing about my job I LOVE where I work" .. then stay.

If you can't drop it and are going to be fundamentally disgruntled then the best feedback they can receive are your heels leaving the door for an environment that will meet your needs.

Ultimately BIG draws it power from the power of its people.

Just like our country: Canada. Canada is BIG.

We have many strengths:

1) An abundance of Natural Resources
2) A variety of stunning landscapes
3) More fresh water than the rest of the world combined.

But for all the inherent strengths of the land in which we live, Canada's biggest strength has been, is, and will always be its PEOPLE. That's YOU and ME. We're not BIG but we can be powerful.

My conclusion: BIG can be great, as long as each of us stands up for ourselves. After all, BIG is simply the sum total of a bunch of ones.

David Benjatschek is an award winning trainer/speaker in the areas of Leadership & Communication. Check out his website at www.marketbeamer.com or contact him by email: david@marketbeamer.com. Check out "Whats New" on the website for details of two powerful workshops hitting Canada later this summer & fall: 1) First Time Managers Two Day Boot Camp and 2) Prioritize and Organize for Success. Early bird rates for registrations by May 15th.

The Lesson:

If you currently create value for BIG by either a)paying taxes to the government or b) genuinely giving your all at your job

4) As You Lose so should Big.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Close Shave: A Great Idea for Leaders and Managers.

Many of you have heard that Alberta is introducing a "Distracted Driver" law this fall. It will fine people who are distracted while driving. What "distraction" means is at the judgment call of the officer watching you. It may be for talking on your hand held cellphone. It could also be for flossing your teeth or trying to balance a Wendy's Combo Meal on your lap while also navigating the road.

This past week I would have been guilty as charged!

The culprit: My new electric shaver.

The story: A great reminder of an important leadership principle for personal and team growth.

Before you lynch me: I wasn't trying to shave as I was driving (although I have witnessed that).

I recently bought my first electric razor. While saving on the costs of a $3 disposable blade that might last 4 shaves is great, I have to confess it has taken a bit to get used to.

With the old disposable blade, one swish line around my face and the hairs in my blade's path were gone. With the electric shaver, I'm finding I'm having to take 3, 4, even up to 10 swipes at those same stubborn hairs to get the same result.

So on Thursday of this past week I was at home getting ready to deliver a Supervisors Workshop in Calgary. I spent around 5 minutes swerving my new electric shaver around my face... straight paths up, straight paths down and circular motions. After about five minutes, it looked like I had achieved the desired result: a clean-shaven face!

I was a happy camper until having left our neighbourhood, I glanced in the rear view mirror of my car. Thursday was a fantastically sunny day in Calgary and to my horror (and distraction) the brilliant light of the sun combined with the magnification of the rear view mirror exposed a few things that the dimmer lighting of my bathroom had not. Like:

Two hairs that stood out like pine treees between my upper lip and my nose.

The equivalent to a Red Wood Forest growing beautifully on the left side of my face just under the chin bone and many seedlings still emerging at various and random spots on my face.

I felt like i would have been better cast as a creature in a horror film that day than as a professional trainer of a management workshop. I had to buy a disposable blade on the way and finish what I had started with my electric razor.

The experience reinforced a great management principle to me:

Everyone on your team (including you) is coming to your workplace with their strengths (perfect shave) and weaknesses (my less than perfect shave).

Great individuals and teams are not afraid to shine the full light of the sun on both of them. As a a leader, you know that when team members can feel free to openly share their strengths and weaknesses, you can put each individual in a position to succeed and use their strengths. The strengths of one team member will cover the weakness of another and vice versa. Overall the team is put in the best position to win.

After all, it is only when we are truly comfortable looking at who we really are today that we can create a powerful vision and plan for the person or team we want to be tomorrow.

Happy Shaving! just not while driving please :O)

David Benjatschek is a professional speaker/trainer and rock star change agent whose Leadership & Communication Workshops span across North America. Two new powerful public workshops will be hitting Ontario & Alberta this summer and fall. For details on the First Time Manager's Two Day Boot Camp or Prioritize and Organize for Success CLICK HERE. You can reach David by email: david@marketbeamer.com