Make radical generosity your new normal. Worn and tattered from the winds of change, we continue to ask, “When will things finally get back to normal?” Leading through rapid change is not for the faint of heart. But the process has proven one thing to me beyond question: Radical generosity is the only sure way to get through it. If we pursue generosity in all storms, we will not only survive but also arrive at a far better place than “the way things used to be.”
Give away your secrets. When you freely give away your secrets, you allow future giants to see farther than you have seen by standing on your shoulders. Aside from how fulfilling it is to be a part of someone’s success, the impact you make by teaching will echo for generations beyond you. Icing on the cake: This is the most sure way to become a sought-after pro and do more of the work you’re passionate about.
Be more curious, less judgmental. Somewhere between the ages of 3 and 13, the world told us to stop asking questions (and we listened). Break that mold by unleashing curiosity for why situations and people are the way they are, rather than quickly judging them. Triple the number of questions you ask. Get obsessed with “why.” Curious leaders are passionate leaders. And passionate leaders are the ones people trust and follow.
Disarm your doubts. Be aware of what you allow your mind to believe is possible. Doubt enables the part of the brain that only sees problems. One negative thought produces another negative thought, and before you know it, you’re trapped in a cycle that can only produce negative results. Breaking the cycle is as simple as deciding to believe something is possible, choosing to focus on the reasons it can be done, and continuing to follow that path of possibilities to the result you desire.
Put your brain on a diet. The media you choose for your mind is just as crucial as the nutrients you choose for your body. Sure, you can binge-watch the occasional show, but offset that with equal time spent consuming a podcast, book or quality time with a mentor who challenges you to grow. You become what you consume most.
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. It’s not uncommon to celebrate big accomplishments. But how often do you celebrate the stepping stones that lead there? When you are generous in acknowledging small wins, they will happen more often, and you’ll get to the big thing you’re after more quickly. Start your week by writing down team wins from the last seven days of every shape and size. Then show some gratitude, clap your hands or even ring a giant gong for the progress you’ve made.
Be the guide. How often are you talking about the dreams and goals of the people around you? Are you checking in on them? Are you nudging them along? If not, what in the world are you good for? Ask with genuine curiosity. Encourage with contagious excitement. Celebrate their wins with a full heart.
Cheer for people who leave your company. Assuming your company actually cares about people and that someone isn’t malicious in pursuing a new venture, cheer for them on their way out the door. This is the most crucial time to prove who you are. It can hurt to see your best people go, but it hurts everyone even more to realize the leader they thought cared about them was full of hot air. If someone has left you for something that serves them and their family better, swallow your pride, be happy for them, and throw them an epic going-away party.
Be frank. We live in a world that often chooses safety over truth, but there are people counting on you to help them on their journey. Are you giving it to them straight? Or are you letting an uncomfortable conversation keep them from realizing their fullest potential? When someone trusts you, do the courageous thing and tactfully point out when they are off the course that you know they would rather be on, because the cruelest thing you could do is let them give up on their own greatness.
Barbecue. There is no better way to bond with your team than over a meal you cook together. Hit a pause button on work mode, fire up a grill and sizzle away the stress every week or two. Don’t worry about the time and money it costs; the byproducts of having fun together are far greater than could ever be measured on a spreadsheet.
Write letters, not classified ads. When you write your classified ads that only talk about the position and pay, you’re telling people that’s all you care about. Instead, talk about the person and their purpose by writing a letter to your future awesome employee. Write as if you already know them, talk about their awesome qualities and quirks that make them perfect for the gig, and especially speak to how your company will make an impact on their life. Pro tip: When you get extremely specific, you will repel all the mediocre candidates and attract the few unicorns that will rock your world.
Read the profiles of this year's honorees.