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A Dad, a Decade, and a Dedication to Development

It is hard for me to believe, but this month marks the tenth anniversary since the death of my father. He would have turned 70 years old this month. His death was unexpected and I wasn’t prepared for it mentally. I got all too acquainted with the feelings of loss, regret, and frustration. And now, a decade later, my new normal puts up a stiff fight against the way things used to be as foremost on my mind.

The 2007 year-end review edition of “Wisconsin Grocer” magazine, the official magazine of the Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA), contained both an article written by my dad and his obituary. Semi-retired from 35 years in the grocery business, he was working part-time for the WGA as its Member Services Representative. He had submitted the article titled “Coaching for Improved Work” prior to his death, leading to what in essence became advice from the grave. At the time when I first saw the magazine ten years ago, it seemed oddly normal to see both the article and the obituary; he did regularly write articles for the magazine, and he was most certainly dead after all. With death comes cold hard truths and I had no other means to process it. However, when I pulled out the magazine recently as I have been reflecting on my dad’s passing, it now struck me as being peculiar and unsettling to see both entries. It caused old feelings of anger and sadness to resurface in me.

I re-read the article (to be honest, I am not sure if I ever read the article when it was originally published). And doing so reminded me of many of the great qualities my dad had. His guidance in the article was indicative of the sage advice he often gave to family, friends, and colleagues. My dad understood the universal truth that organizations and the leaders who are trusted to run them must put time and effort into developing their employees.

There are many commonalities between the roles my father and I have held in the field of workplace training and development. He somewhat stumbled into the industry after working for many years in the grocery stores and then getting promoted to a corporate leadership position. I remember him telling me a story about the first time he facilitated a large workshop for managers and how nervous he was beforehand. He shared his concerns with his boss at the time who essentially told him to “suck it up.” He became very proficient in front of large groups as time went on, but he was more comfortable and impactful in an intimate setting. I, on the other hand, received a degree in education and have spent the majority of my career committed to helping employees perform at their best. I get awkward in one-on-one and small group settings, yet thrive when facilitating large groups. Similar yet different. Either way, we both appreciate the value of putting work in to the people side of business.

In his book “The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality” (Doubleday Books. 1999), author Ronald Rolheiser writes about staying in contact with our loved ones after their death. For Christians, Rolheiser writes, “we find our loved ones after death separates us by giving concrete expressions in our lives to those virtues and qualities which they best incarnated.” He goes on, “Just as Mary Magdala did not find Jesus in his tomb, we too will not find our loved ones there (though good to visit graves). We will meet the ones we can no longer touch when we put ourselves in situations where their souls once flourished. Simply put, we find our loved ones by entering into life, in terms of love and faith, in the way that was most distinctive to them.” In other words, if you want to feel more in touch with a deceased loved one who was characteristically compassionate – be more compassionate yourself.

When I visit my dad’s grave, it is a good experience and allows time for me to reflect and pray in silence. But, I do not meet my dad there; I don’t feel connected to him there. To achieve that connection, I need to go to the places that are most distinctive of my dad. And that means going deeper than just doing the same things that he did. It took me a number of years to learn that. For example, my dad had a love of cars…Corvettes specifically. I have owned a couple of Corvettes myself, and while they conjured up thoughts and memories of my dad, they didn’t bring us in contact. I needed to go more to the core of his character to those traits he incarnated – for which he was the living embodiment of.

My dad had a way of making people feel at ease around him. And he was especially adept at finding the one who was most isolated, alienated, or uneasy, and reaching out to them. I experienced it a number of times myself at large gatherings I would arrive at (such as a wedding) where I didn’t know many people and my introversion would take over. Then I would see my dad and he would come over and talk with me and make me feel special. Immediately I felt more comfortable. I have come to learn that when I am warm and gracious, and when I reach out to the lonely, lost, or excluded, I meet my dad.

And so, to that end, I want to share an excerpt from my dad’s article on coaching so as to help me, and perhaps you, stay connected to my dad by being involved in an activity that was distinctively him-coaching.

“Most employees want better direction from management. They perform their jobs in the best way they know how, maybe not the way you would perceive them doing the job.

Coaching is one of the most powerful one-on-one management techniques for increasing work performance. Coaching becomes a great motivational tool. It provides an opportunity to communicate a detailed plan for working together to improve operational goals, objectives, and enhance customer satisfaction.

One of the most important investments is to invest time and effort into one of the most important assets: employees. Employees are the key to customer satisfaction and profitability. Train new employees and coach key employees to accept responsibility for executing outlined process improvements.

Just a thought, if the work assignments that are to be accomplished on any given day represent 100%, what percentage would you estimate will be accomplished that day with you not present and all of your employees on the job? If you rely on coaching and developing your staff, the chances are a greater percentage of work will be completed in a manner which equals your expectations.

Focus on making positive change happen. If you continue to always do what you always did, you will always get what you got before.”

Good advice ten years ago…good advice now…and good advice ten years from now. My dad was not a prolific writer, he didn’t have an organizational development pedigree, nor did he have a college degree. But he understood people. Regardless of any technological advancement, automation, process excellence, or any other development, people and managing relationships are still at the heart of all successful businesses, communities, and families. So why aren’t leaders more effective at coaching people?

In my experience, leaders accomplish the things which they are held accountable for. Often those things are sales, production, and customer satisfaction. Leaders are not held accountable – I mean really held accountable – for coaching and developing their people. I challenge you to make 2018 the year of the employee, and invest time and effort in them. Hold yourself and others accountable for coaching employees and perhaps you will see their distinctive virtues and qualities come to life.

What I Learned About Making Dreams Come True

As the end of 2017 draws near, I find myself looking back on the year that was. I had my fair share of triumphs, disappointments, and opportunities. Without question, this will always be remembered as a special year because I achieved a major life goal. In April, I released my first book (titled “I Am CXO, Now What? A Job Description for Living a Life of Purpose and Meaning”) and checked off a big box on my list of accomplishments I hoped to complete…one day. Since then, I have had the opportunity to talk about my book and its message with several different audiences including people of faith, business leaders, and high school students. What has struck me is just as eager as listeners are to hear about what it means to be a CXO, they are equally enthused to learn how I achieved my goal. I found that people are hungry to hear stories of inspiration and receive affirmation that dreams can indeed become reality.

It is hard to put into words. I thought the notion “you can do anything you set your mind to” didn’t apply to me. I thought that was for the other guy. But I have come to appreciate I, too, can share in life’s grandest adventures. I can make what seems unreachable attainable. This was the dream after all; publishing a book. Not selling thousands of books or becoming a famous author. And I had absolutely zero prior experience or expertise to rely on. But I had the conviction to follow my heart. And so, I want to share with you what becoming a published author has taught me about accomplishing your goals – for I know they live in your heart too.

Have the Right Mindset

First and foremost, I needed to change my mindset. You see, I have wanted to write a book for many years. Well, truth be told, I didn’t want to write a book – I wanted to have a completed, fully authored book with my name on it. I wanted to be an author; I didn’t want to write a book. I have never liked the process of writing (yet here I am writing a blog) and had many starts and stops over the last decade.

To get over the psychological hurdle, I needed to shift from seeing an end point to embracing the journey. I wrestled with knowing versus learning, and had to move from finding joy in knowing how to do something to getting joy from learning how to do something. I needed to embrace getting there rather than being there. Allow me to give you another example. In addition to always wanting to write a book, I had also wanted to know how to play the guitar. I had tried to learn a few times over the years and found it to be too hard and gave up. I couldn’t play the guitar. Finally, I needed to adjust my mindset and believe there is joy in learning how to play the guitar. Now, about a year and a half after beginning a concerted effort to learn to play, I still don’t know how to play the guitar. However, I am learning and find enjoyment in the process.

What goals do you have? Let’s say, for example, your goal is to earn a MBA. You should focus on the individual classes, personal development, and connections you make along the way rather than on the final credentials hanging in a frame on the wall which will likely be a few years and thousands of dollars down the road.

Set Milestones

Achieving your most wild and exciting life goals requires having a plan. Instill intermittent milestones where you can celebrate success along the way. This creates discipline by addressing two things: it makes the challenge seem less daunting, and it renews your commitment to forge on. For me, I ultimately decided I wanted to give it a try and whether I succeeded or failed, at least I gave it a shot.

I chose to begin in autumn knowing that it would soon be winter and I would be writing at a time of year when it is too cold and snowy for my liking. I challenged myself to have the writing done by spring. My first milestone was to have a completed manuscript – not the final draft, but a completed manuscript from first chapter to last. My second milestone was to have a few trusted advisors read the manuscript and provide feedback. Then I attained confirmation from the publisher they would accept the manuscript, I added the foreword and some illustrations, and so on and so forth. Each milestone of the journey was affirming. I learned to appreciate the process of writing a book and managing the publishing steps.

If your goal is to run a marathon, concentrate your efforts on form, routine, and gradually building your way up to 26.2 miles. Perhaps complete a 5k and then a half marathon first, and celebrate those successes. Work on improving your time even if you haven’t increased your distance. If you only see yourself as a “marathoner,” you may give up a few miles in because the challenge seems too daunting. As Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.”

Eliminate Your Greatest De-motivator

I mentioned earlier that I had a number of starts and stops over the last decade or so. The biggest deterrent for me was the act of plunking away at the keyboard and putting thoughts to page. This killed my motivation to write. Finally, I installed a dictation app on my phone. I could speak my thoughts and ideas, anytime it was convenient, and the app would convert it to a document. I only needed to then edit, shuffle paragraphs around, add details, and polish it up. From there, I was off to the races.

What is the greatest factor demotivating you from working towards your goals? If you can name it then you can eliminate it. Reflect on this and be sure you have gotten to the heart of the matter. This is a little different than the common philosophy of doing the least desirable task first. I suggest you find a way to remove it, abolish it, destroy it. Once you do, remaining tasks begin to build momentum.

Use Your Network

One of the more joyous outcomes I realized from working towards my goal was learning how many people in my network wanted to see me succeed. I expected that writing a book would be a solitary activity left to me and me alone. I learned for me to succeed I needed the help of others – and plenty of others were ready to offer their help. There are people you know who would be happy to help you, too. There are people who want to see you succeed.

For example, I got help with tasks like selecting a publisher, editing, photography, and marketing. I am confident if you stop to think about it you will find that there are people you know who can help you based on their experience and expertise. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not only can these connections help you with elements of your goal you are not experienced in, they will be some of your greatest cheerleaders and can serve as accountability partners to keep you on track.

Overcome Your Fears

Fear of failure is something I have wrestled with most of my life, as many people do. This fear generally fuels me into action rather than paralyzing me, so I don’t worry about it too much. In this case, I had lingering self-doubt about whether or not a publisher would take on the project. I wondered if anyone would read the book. I worried about readers finding grammar errors. I had angst over what my family and friends would have to say about it. Eventually, I found the courage I needed to put myself out there, embrace vulnerability, and allow readers to learn about what is in my heart. I decided that the book did not need to be perfect, it merely needed to be authentically me.

And then came another, and perhaps more important, fear. I needed to overcome the fear of succeeding. I needed to be vulnerable enough to accept success and failure with equal amounts of grace. I needed to get comfortable with having my name on the cover of a book, with having my name show up in online search results, and with the attention I would get from people who learned I had written a book. I have never been one to self-promote or seek attention. Authoring a book has taken me out of my comfort zone. I continue to remind myself that it is not about me; it is about the message of the book and trying to help others. What about you? What if you actually earn that MBA or finish that marathon? How will you respond to the achievement? And is that response standing in your way?

We all have hopes, dreams, and aspirations. What is one of the most wild and exciting goals on your list? What are you doing to prepare to attain it? I am confident with the right perspective, discipline, courage, and a little help from your friends you can do anything you want to. And in the unlikely event you do not achieve your goal, I am sure you will at least be happy you tried. No regrets!

The Nature of Friendships

When my children were young, I marveled at parents of teenagers. Or maybe I pitied them? Their children had lost their innocence, grown more independent, and faced the temptation of drugs, alcohol, and sex. Parenting a teen seemed like a daunting experience where success required the perfect balance of masterful skill and blind luck. I was very aware that my kids would face unique challenges I couldn’t even imagine when I was a teen – life is different now. On more than one occasion I was told by other parents of teens the most important decision my kids would make when they reached teen-hood would be choosing who their friends are. A “make or break” proposition that I wasn’t convinced a teen is capable of comprehending. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Fast forward a dozen or so years and the fact is I have enjoyed parenting teens very much. It has not been as scary as I feared. It has been gratifying to watch them mature and develop socially and emotionally. I enjoy having conversations with them, and seeing them self-reflect and problem solve. I am very proud and thankful for the choices my kids have made regarding their friends, and I credit the parents of my kid’s friends for raising fine young men and women. You know who you are.

That isn’t to say my kids haven’t had some issues to work through with their friendships. Comparison, judgment, pressure, and the desire to belong have all come into play. I have had many a long conversation with each of my kids about friendships. I am sure I will have plenty more. I am certainly not an expert and can only share what I have learned from my experience. And one way or another, conversations about friendship always seem to end up with me reflecting on my own friendships and how they had evolved over the years.

Friendships are important to me. I derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around my close friends. I am comfortable with being vulnerable with my closest friends and accept the risk that comes with it. I like it when others return the same to me. I prefer having a smaller number of close friends rather than numerous casual acquaintances. Friendships can be hard for me to initiate because of my quiet and reserved nature. I often wonder if I am being a good friend and worry about whether my friendships will stand the test of time.

In elementary school, my friends were those boys who lived in my neighborhood. I was fortunate enough to live near several boys about my age and we all loved to do the same thing – spend countless hours playing outside. When you are young and foolish, you assume you’ll be friends forever. Although we were all similar in age, none of the neighbor boys were in the same grade as me and consequently we grew apart. I haven’t been in contact with any of them in nearly 30 years.

In middle school my friends became the boys in my class who I played sports with. Competing alongside each other created bonds that I thought would endure. I was mistaken. And in high school I only had a few close friends who remained. My closest friends in high school weren’t neighbors or teammates, but rather kids who I felt I had a deeper connection to. We shared something in common; values, beliefs, or habits that were meaningful to me. Unfortunately, I don’t see or talk to any of them anymore for no good reason other than we just stopped putting in the effort. You do not reap what you do not sow.

I went to college not knowing a sole. My freshman year was uncomfortable and lonely; I traveled home many weekends. My sophomore year I forged some strong friendships with three other boys who lived on my floor in the dormitory. We became roommates and remained friends throughout college. We shared, learned, and laughed together experiencing some very formative milestones. After college, we went our separate ways. I haven’t seen or talked to two of them in over 20 years, and one I have only talked to on a handful of occasions.

So, to review, I haven’t maintained any friendships from my youth! My closest friends today are people who I didn’t know more than ten years ago.

There has been a certain transiency and relevancy to my friendships. Why is that? Are we too busy for friends? Is it simply laziness? Are we too judgmental and intolerant? Or does it have a little something to do with being a male? Perhaps men are not good at friendships? We are good friends when it comes to fantasy football, beer pong, and moving couches; but not so much when it comes to listening, vulnerability, or compassion. And maybe that is okay? Or maybe, just like God desires, our friends deserve a chunk of our time each day where we talk to them, pray for them, do things for them, or just be with them. After all, if you don’t put any work into the relationship you cannot expect the relationship to work for you.

My friends today have sprouted from my own kid’s friendships, church, current neighbors, and volunteer work I am involved in. I often wonder if I will still be close to my current friends ten years from now, or will I have a different friend group? I do know that I am older, wiser, and more mature. I love myself more now than I did 20 or 30 years ago, and subsequently can love others more. I cherish the joy of friendship and put much more work into my friendships now than I did in the past. The point is this: “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

I cannot predict how long my kid’s friendships will last or who their friends will be when they are older. All I can do is trust that they will make prudent decisions based on the values they were raised with, and share with them the universal truth that if you want friends you need to be one. That’s how it works.

(Part II) Core Competence, CXO Style

In my last blog post, I wrote about the six core competencies preferred of a Chief Experience Officer (CXO). They are: approachability, positivity, authenticity, vulnerability, humility, and generosity. I suggested these six behavioral skills, technical skills, attributes, or attitudes will assist CXOs in carrying out the principal duties required of the role.

I asked the readers to participate in a brief online poll to identify which of the six competencies they had to work the hardest at on order to demonstrate consistently. The results of the survey showed that the most common competency identified was authenticity (40%). Now, as promised, I want to provide development resources to help us grow in that area.

First, let’s start with a reminder of what authenticity is. To be authentic means to be exposed, void of pretense, and genuine. When you are authentic you are true to you own personality, spirit, and character. Naturally, the opposite of all those things would be inauthentic. Authenticity can be a little hard to define, but I am confident you know it when you see it. We gravitate towards authentic people because we can trust and understand them. Thus, our defense mechanism is lowered and comfort level increases around authentic people. Second, I want to acknowledge survey respondents for their self-awareness. We cannot make strides towards being more authentic if we are not self-aware. By simply selecting authenticity from the list shows those respondents have self-awareness in acknowledging their room for improvement – that is a good foundation to start.

To be authentic, one must know thyself. We, as thinking and reasoning humans, must take time to understand our drivers, natural tendencies, preferences, values, beliefs, and biases. Without knowing our authentic self, we cannot hold our selves accountable to being that person. The challenge comes from trying to be your authentic self despite external influences and judgement.

To examine this, further, I solicited the help of Jim Love. Jim is a public speaker focusing on authentic leadership. Here is a summary of a short interview I had with Jim.

Q. Why is it so hard for people to be authentic? 

A. Especially today, there are so many forces that don’t support authenticity. People tend to rely on the opinions of others for their own self-worth. In a world where folks are defined by their next Instagram like and which version of the iPhone they own, it’s difficult to demonstrate who you truly are. “Heart-to-heart” conversations take a backseat to reading Twitter updates on your phone. It’s very easy to get caught up in the world and not focus on your authentic self.

Q. What would you recommend to someone to grow their authenticity?

A. The most important recommendation I have for someone to grow in their authenticity is to decide right now that they accept themselves and love themselves. That might sound weird (and perhaps boastful), but the minute you decide to love yourself and your style is the same minute you become a more effective, authentic leader. Decide that you are awesome just the way you are. With that acceptance in mind, you can begin seeking opportunities to develop your strengths. Become better at what you’re already good at doing. You will feel more confident, vibrant and, in turn, your authenticity will shine through. Hold that mindset and let it dictate your thoughts and actions.

 

To build on Jim’s recommendation, here is a list of additional things we can do to grow our authenticity. I present them to you in the form of a list; anyone who knows me can attest that lists are authentically me. Good luck as you become more authentically you.

  1. Lead with your values. Reflect on and identify what your top 3-5 core values are (find examples at Values.com). Having a defined, finite list will help you with accountability. Allow those values to guide your decision making, interpersonal behaviors, goal setting, and moral dilemmas.
  2. Appreciate the insignificance of collecting stuff. Whether the stuff is cars, clothes, awards, or promotions, in the end it is all insignificant when not aligned to our authentic self. Do you use the stuff to help you accomplish a goal or fulfill a purpose? Or do you use the stuff to impress others?
  3. Build relationships. Connecting with people is deeply at the core of authenticity. You will show your authenticity, and people will know your authenticity, by the quality of the relationship. You will get to know people beyond just casual small talk and engage in genuine discussion that sparks and emotional connection.
  4. Examine your motivation. Are you driven by image and what others think of you? Do you have a bigger house than you can afford to impress others? Do you promote your accomplishments on social media to make your colleagues jealous? Positive intent yields positive thoughts, which yield positive actions.
  5. Be mindful of whose language you are using? Some of the most inauthentic people I know often use others’ lingo. In the workplace, I call it “consultant speak.” These are one-liners, jargon, catch-phrases, and clichés such as “stay in your swim lane.” Which, as is often used in the workplace, has nothing to do with swimming. And the most common catch-phrases tend to change as someone introduces a new one into a culture (oftentimes consultants), and then others adopt it and still more go with the crowd.
  6. Say what you mean, in a polite way. It is okay to have an opinion or preference and share it. Some people shy away from authenticity for fear of being too bold, brash, or direct. So long as it is done in a polite and courteous way you can and should share your genuine feelings. As Stephen Covey said, “If two people have the same opinion, one is unnecessary.”
  7. Freely show emotion. Some people are cautious to show their emotions for how it will appear to others. It humanizes you when others know that you care and have feelings. Express your passion, show your love, and openly accept a hug when someone offers one to you.
  8. Let your work speak for itself. Be mindful of the conversations you are having and how often you recite your resume to others. If you are intelligent, experienced, and qualified others will know it. You may have “been there done that,” but without the requisite humility and self-assurance it just sounds like you are trying to promote yourself.
  9. Forgive yourself and admit your shortcomings. No one is perfect and we should stop trying to be. Apologize when you make a mistake, it will build your credibility rather than break it down. Are you your most harsh critic? Forgive yourself and take tender loving care of your own health and well-being
  10. Connect with something bigger than yourself. The fuel that can keep you forging ahead and maintaining your authenticity, even at the toughest of times, could just be your belief that you are a part of something bigger. This could be a cause that is important to you, a community of friends and family, or religion/spirituality. In all cases, you take the attention away from yourself and focus on serving others and a greater purpose.

Core Competence, CXO Style

Take our CXO competency poll, powered by dANIMATED, LLC.
When I think about the roles I participate in – whether it be parent, husband, author, speaker, golfer, or guitarist – I am intrinsically motivated to do them well. I have a desire to achieve proficiency. Each is a work in progress and I strive to improve each day. For me to get better and excel in my roles, I must possess or develop certain attributes or skills. For example, I need patience to be an effective father and perseverance to advance as a guitar player. The same is true for us in our workplaces. For us to meet our organizations’ expectations for our role, we should be able to perform various tasks and skills at a target level. These tasks and skills are often referred to as competencies, and collectively they make up a success profile. But when we are mismatched with the profile, or not given opportunities to develop and grow our competency, we struggle to meet expectations and fall short of achieving proficiency.

The global people and organizational advisory firm Korn Ferry explains it this way, “Like the periodic table of elements, it depends on what you want to make. Water is two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen (H2O). The make-up of salt is NaCl (sodium + chloride). What is the make-up of a successful general manager, department head, or specialized individual contributor? This is where the practice of success profiling and competency modeling come into play.” I love that image; one part this, two parts that, and you can make the profile for effectiveness in any given role. Take my earlier example of being a guitarist and the necessary competency of perseverance. You could argue that perseverance is important to success at every and anything, and you might be right. But a part of competency modeling is to prioritize which elements are the most essential to getting the desired outcome from the role. Guitar players must have the discipline to practice, the persistence to fight through the initial pain in your fingertips, and the drive to learn new techniques; all which mandate perseverance. Mix in fine motor dexterity and you get an even more proficient guitarist; while  interpersonal skills may not be as essential to a guitar player. And perseverance may not be as important to my role as author or speaker if I am not first competent in written communication and presentation skills. Alas, getting the mix of elements right is critical or your NaCl wont taste like salt.

In my book, “I Am CXO, Now What?”, I spell out six competencies (elements) ideal for reaching high performance as a Chief Experience Officer. If you are not familiar with it, I summarize the role of CXO as delivering exemplary, life-changing experiences to others. Or to say it another way, a CXO strives to give positive experiences to others who interact with him or her. In this blog, I aim to define each of the six core competencies for a CXO. The competencies may be a behavioral skill, technical skill, attribute, or attitude, and will assist CXOs in carrying out the principal duties required of the role. For example, one of the principal duties of a CXO is to sacrifice your time, money, or effort for the sake of someone else. We are better equipped to do so when we possess the competencies of humility and generosity. And while there may be many other attributes and skills that would contribute to being a proficient CXO, I have prioritized these six as most important. And they afford us a finite number of measurable and achievable targets to focus on.

As you review the descriptions I assigned to each competency, I urge you to reflect on which come most easily to you and which you need to work the hardest at in order to demonstrate it consistently. That isn’t to say you can’t or don’t achieve that competency, it may just take more work for you or isn’t a natural tendency. In no particular order, here is the success profile for a CXO.

Chief Experience Officer Core Competencies

Approachability
  • Accessible and easy to talk to
  • Sensitive to the interpersonal anxieties of others
  • Puts others at ease
  • Knows how or when to be warm and gracious
Positivity
  • An attitude of optimism and hopefulness
  • Sees possibilities and opportunities
  • Sees the good in others
Authenticity
  • Pure, exposed, and genuine
  • True to your own personality, spirit, and character
  • Void of pretense
  • Self-aware
Vulnerability
  • Embracing emotional exposure and uncertainty
  • Openness to differing ideas, opinions, and cultural norms
  • Allowing others into your heart
Humility
  • Courteously respectful of others
  • Self-restraint and gentleness
  • Openness to having your mind changed
  • Putting others first
Generosity
  • Sacrificing time, money, or energy for others
  • Kindhearted and boundless
  • Belief that gifts are meant to be shared

How about you? Do you find yourself having to stretch and work harder to demonstrate one of these competencies more so than the others? Be honest with yourself; there is no benefit to being disingenuous here. Keep in mind, past mistakes and room for improvement don’t preclude you from being a CXO. In fact, they only heighten your potential for success. Please participate in the anonymous online poll and assess which competency you need to work the hardest at in order to demonstrate is consistently. I will be collecting data until the end of September and analyzing trends. Then, in a future blog, I will provide development ideas and resources for how individuals can increase their competence in the area most commonly identified.