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The Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fascinating book several years ago about how little changes can make a big difference and influence a “tipping point”…the moment when the right mix causes an epidemic and change occurs.

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When I look back over the last three years, I see how this phenomenon moved me to where I am now, but lately, I’ve been looking for that next burst of momentum in all aspects of my life.  Others peek into my world and see gold stars-simply a testament to what can be done when you are determined to succeed.  But in my own mind, I wonder sometimes if I am riding the ghosts of former glory and need to create a new vision of the “me” I am today.  Outspoken, forward thinking, undisciplined in some areas, fiercely loyal, intent on building others up, and full of a desire to speak the same language as everyone else (though I know that all too often, for good and for bad, I move to the beat of a different drum).

Are we really only as good as the most recent memory? Or, as Nigel says each week on SYTYCD, do we need to remember the history of the season, and not just the dance we did today?

 What has to change in our thinking, work style, and outlook on life to propel us through to the tipping point?

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Advance to "Go"

In Monopoly, there are several moves that can be made during the game.  You can invest early or you can pay rent.  You can build houses or hotels.  You can draw a Chance card and advance directly to Go, or you can get stuck with one of the ” Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200” cards.  This card selection stinks in the board game and in the game of life.

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In the business world, sometimes we’re caught off our game.  We get overloaded with work; we’re trying to reduce an Inbox from 2,000 down to 0, or we accept too many meetings meetings thereby limiting the amount of time to get work done. 

I had one of those rare  ”off” moments last week.  I was knee-deep in a discussion with coworkers where solutions to a problem were being figured out.  The discussion ran long, and before I knew it, I was going to be late for a meeting.   I was scattered as I power walked into the other person’s office.  The start of the meeting could have been much better than it was, and because it was just two people, there was slim chance that my lack of focus went unnoticed.   The other person became disengaged, and it was work to get the discussion back on track.  I walked out feeling like I’d just lost an hour and left the wrong impression. 

I stewed for two days over that bad meeting.  Did I lose value with the other person because it hadn’t gone as well as intended?  Would I now be viewed as less capable because of it?   And then God reminded me that we can’t go through life pushing the rewind button.  Our hearts were not  made to bear the torture of regret, or the sting of guilt.   We all make mistakes.  And it’s through acknowledging the mistakes and looking for ways to minimize repeats that we learn the biggest lessons.

My lesson was that I need to say “no” more often so that I make time to focus on what’s most important while at work.  I probably wouldn’t have gotten the picture as clearly had I not screwed up in such grandiose style.  Praise God that we get second chances…the “advance to Go” card, if you will.

What mess-up have you made where God has used it to teach you a valuable lesson?

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The Power of a Great Meeting and Open Doors

Yesterday, I sat in a meeting that changed my outlook on several things at work.  I learned about changes in how we’ll communicate with each other, how we’ll be more accountable to each other, and how we’re going to work together better as we reach for the Same Goals.  It was empowering.   And I needed it.  

An open door...

An open door...

In this same meeting, I learned more about the two doors.

Last Friday, I had noticed something different about these two doors.  They were pushed completely open.  We’re so used to seeing them closed that I thought maybe the a/c had leaked or something had burned in the microwave and the space had to be aired out.  Those doors always being closed represented exclusivity, power…an ivory tower one dared not enter unless really necessary.   

Yesterday, I learned that the light bulb had come on and these doors would be open all the time.   That simple act told everyone outside that they are important and worth the risk of distraction.  And sending that message gains a huge amount of respect from ones followers.  The biggest win will be for those inside because others will see them in a new light.  Approachable.  Looking for connection.

I am excited about the days ahead.  There is a renewed vision.  A new sense of teamwork.  My attitude has shifted.  And all it took was one great meeting and two open doors…

What actions have you seen at work recently that give you a glimpse of great leadership?

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The Gift of Gratitude

Last night, I had the pleasure of watching a segment on 60 Minutes about Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill virtuoso found living on the streets in L.A.  and the unimaginable bond created when a columnist from the L.A. Times found him and opened up a new world to him through music.  Nathaniel went from Julliard to the streets…and now sits in on rehearsals at the Disney Concert Hall.  I’m sure each person took something different away.   I was left with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the life I have today.

As we drove home, I was lost in my own thoughts on the things I am most grateful for.  Here are my top five (this list could go on and on):

1. Salvation-First and foremost is the gift of salvation.  If not for Christ, life would be very different.

2. Parenthood-Being a mommy is the single greatest joy of my life. Some days it sucks…no doubt.  But nothing is more rewarding than loving a child and watching that child spread love to others.

3. Family-While not born into the kind of family one hopes for, I’ve been graced with many people who serve as an adopted family with two amazing people who became my adopted parents nine years ago and changed the legacy of my family tree.  There is real freedom in being loved and accepted for who you are, “warts and all”.

4. Career-After a few years stumbling on the wrong paths, I landed on the right one and have been privileged to grow and be mentored by some amazing leaders at Nelson.  Others saw in me what I couldn’t and when it would have been easier to give up…they pushed.  And still do.

5. Second Chances- How wonderful to know that we can start over every time we screw up.  We have unlimited “do over” cards and our attitude and willpower are the only things that stand in the way.

In today’s climate where negativity looms around every corner, I am happy to be grateful, because life could be a lot worse. 

How about you?  What are you most grateful for?

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