Archive for January, 2012

Stimulate Your Thinking – Leadership Resiliency: Handling Stress, Uncertainty and Setbacks

Monday, January 16th, 2012

“We live in very uncertain times,” says CCL’s Amy Martinez. “The question isn’t how can you avoid difficulty and stress. The question is, “How do you face it?”

Change is ongoing, plans get undone with regularity, and your own expectations do not always get met. “The work priorities shift, the players change,” says Martinez. “You could be transferred, reassigned, or – who knows – will there even be a job?”

And of course, personal setbacks and crises don’t go away just because work is already difficult. We often get an unwanted double dose, with setbacks facing us at home and work. “All of us can benefit from becoming more resilient – better able to face our struggles, recover and adapt,” Martinez continues.

Resiliency is also a business issue. People who can’t handle a fast pace or uncertainty won’t perform at their best in many of today’s organizations. They may be more likely to call in sick and perhaps feel unmotivated when they are working. Stress lowers productivity and increases health problems (and healthcare costs). And when people in leadership positions are angry, reactive, anxious – not resilient – it sets the tone for how others interact, react and get work done.

Our ability to cope with stress, difficulties, roadblocks, criticisms, rejection or change is made easier when we take better care of ourselves. One way to do this is to focus on overall well-being and building energy across multiple dimensions of life: physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. This is the framework that participants in CCL’s Leadership Development Program (LDP)® use to come up with ideas for building their own resiliency and helping others to do the same.

  1. Physical. What can you do to build your physical energy? During the workday, get up and move every 90 to 120 minutes. Suggest a walking meeting. Climb stairs instead of taking the elevator.
  2. Mental. What can you do to overcome mental fatigue and exhaustion? Learn anything new. Take a mental vacation by daydreaming. Solve a challenging puzzle. Focusing on something other than your work or personal challenge creates a mental break.
  3. Emotional. What can you do to become more conscious of your emotional triggers? Figure out who and what pushes your buttons. Step away, slow down, or enlist an ally to help you slow your reactions and choose your response.
  4. Social. What can you do to create more meaningful and productive relationships? Ask a colleague for advice, give positive feedback, or share something you learned about yourself recently.
  5. Spiritual. What can you do to more effectively align your behaviors with your core values and purpose? Clarify what you value most, quiet your mind or think about what inspires you.

Still unsure of what to do to become more resilient? Martinez suggests taking another page from the LDP participants’ workbook as a starting point:

Recall a time in your personal or professional life when you were able to overcome, prevail, bounce back or rise above a difficult situation. Then ask yourself:

  • What happened?
  • What was I thinking and feeling at the time?
  • How did I get through it?
  • What did I do that helped you to get through this situation?
  • What did I learn from the experience that made me a more resilient person today?

“You have the resources within you to become more resilient,” Martinez says. “But it does take some effort to learn or remind yourself what will work best for you.”

3 Best Practices When ‘Bad Stuff’ Happens

Amy Martinez has had many opportunities to put her approach to resiliency to the test.

Back in 2006, she endured the unexpected loss of her father, declined an ideal promotion and left a wonderful organization, and moved across the country to help her mother. She found herself jobless while also dealing with a crumbling marriage that eventually ended in divorce. Several years later, she is a CCL senior faculty member, a passionate speaker on the value of resilience and an advocate for three best practices:

  1. Personal energy management. Manage your own resistance. “Show up,” give your best and relinquish attachment to the outcome. Stay in the present. Exercise compassion for self and others.
  2. Shifting your lenses. Take charge of how you think about adversity. Understand your beliefs about the situation and choose your response.
  3. Sense of purpose. Develop a “personal why” that gives your life meaning. This helps you better face setbacks and challenges. Also, look for ways that crisis and adversity may connect to your larger life purpose.


Stimulate Your Thinking – The Rise Of Gen Y

Monday, January 9th, 2012

by Kenneth W. Gronbach

Generation Y (born 1985 to 2004) is the big story for 2012-and the years ahead.

Generation Y is the biggest generation in the history of the United States. They out-number the Boomers (born 1945 to 1964) by about 4 million. There are about 83 million of them. They are flooding the labor force and charging head-on into an employer’s market. This means that the public and private sectors will be able to hire the best young workers the labor market has offered in decades. The millions of Generation Y young people who don’t get hired will open their own businesses out of necessity because they have to eat. This bodes very well for our nation.

New 2012 Generation Y hires should be a refreshing contrast to the entitled Generation X (born 1965 to 1984) hires of years past. Remember for every ten jobs left behind by the Boomers there were only eight Gen X’ers and thus the entitled attitude. Hard work will truly be a condition of employment for Y. Look for Generation Y to be so relieved that they got hired that little else will matter. Generation Y will put pressure on Generation X to perform or get out of the way. It’s a whole new dynamic in the US workforce. Baby Boomers will love Generation Y’s spunk and ambition.

In 2012 Generation Y men will continue to discover the acute unmet demand for skilled technical careers that do not require a college degree. This explains the huge and growing 60/40 college enrollment imbalance favoring women. Even with nearly 9% unemployment nationally, manufacturing jobs have gone begging because of the resurgence of this sector and the absence of skilled labor.

The average age we marry for the first time in the United States is 26 years old, so in 2012 Generation Y will begin to find mates and start to marry at record levels and start households. They will then start a Baby Boom all their own. Consumption of related products will spike. The United States is the only Western culture and the only industrialized nation in the world that is having children at above replacement level fertility of 2.2 children per couple. This ensures a viable labor force until further notice, unlike China that has committed demographic suicide with their “One Child Only Policy”. This arcane policy has “prevented” 400 million live births under 31 years old and reduced their future labor force to an unsustainable level.

In 2012 Generation Y’s presence will be begin to be felt by the United States’ private shared- risk health insurance model. Generation Y (now aged 8 to 27 years old) will begin to pay into the system but not use many of the health services because they are young and healthy. This will begin to off-set the problems created by the diminutive Generation X (now 28 to 47 years old) who did not have the critical mass to pay into the system at a level that would compensate for the Boomer’s over utilization of health services. Boomers are now 48 to 67 years old. Over time Generation Y should be able to remedy the health care crisis without Obama-care.