Leadership: Being Intentional
December 12, 2011
Fresh off of a leadership training week in Atlanta with peers from around the country, it would be quite easy to fall back into normal rhythms without truly internalizing all that I’ve just absorbed. By sharing some of my personal learnings here, I hope to avoid that. Therefore, my ‘download.” For starters, the concept of being intentional — at home and at work. I’ve had discussions around this with those I respect, but this really brought it home to me, in a few core ways….
1) When we first arrived on Tuesday, we drew names of a peer for the ritual of ”the giving of gifts.” In the time we had together, we were to work to get to know (or at least notice something about) the person whose name we drew. At the end of the week, we gave that person a gift and shared something that stood out to us about him or her. I received a fantastic little puzzle map of the world from my friend Kevin, based on a number of things I had mentioned in small group settings over dinner — namely that I’d been to Machu Picchu and that I loved to do things with my children. When he gave me the puzzle he specifically noted that it was “to plan your next adventure together.” No, this exchange is nothing earthshattering, but it taught me a lesson about listening intently and deliberately working to notice or learn a few key things about those with whom I work, live and interact.
In fact, this is hitting home now as we go through the ritual of preparing and sending our Christmas cards. The House of Klause has a pretty big (although everything is relative) list of families/individuals to whom we send yearly greetings. We send about 230 and it’s growing. What struck me yesterday as I read the list was the “new additions” — those people we’d met in the last year who have impacted us in some way. On the flip side, going through the list, there are a number of families with whom our interactions are limited to the exchange of cards. Yet, they don’t come off the list. There is some intangible connection there to which we cling. We are intentional about keeping and building this network. Footnote: some cynics might argue that Facebook has changed this whole dynamic, but I believe there is irreplaceable value in the reciprocity and ritual of sending holiday greetings.
2) The second core concept around being intentional explores the difference between amateurs and professionals. If you’ve ever read the Gladwell book Outliers, then you know that Professionals PRACTICE. They don’t just practice. They log thousands of hours in getting things right. They go right to that exercise, that music measure, that problem unresolved and work it work it work it until they get it. Instead of playing the whole song, they intentionally wallow in the tough spots until they get them down. Only then, do they afford themselves the luxury of playing the piece in its entirety. It’s a simple concept but by truly working on that which we need to stretch and stepping into areas of discomfort, growth follows. Well, I put this into immediate practice with Mia in her piano practice last night! We wallowed in the very measure that introduced playing both hands together. It. Was. Hard. But we — together — learned an incredible lesson about digging into the hard stuff and finding little successes…. and big rewards!
Next up…. “The Pit of Incompetence”…. AKA “The Pit of Success.”