TanveerNaseer.com

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Moving From ‘Good Enough’ To Greatness

Leadership-greatness-vs-good-enough

Of all the numerous organs that make up the human body, there’s no question that the brain is the most fascinating and least understood. Indeed, thanks to the burgeoning field of neuroscience, we’re not only discovering new insights into how this vital organ functions, but we’re also beginning to appreciate the depth of its complexity and mysterious nature.

Of course, as amazing as the human brain is, the fact is that it’s also quite lazy. A good example of this is the ease by which we create habits, and the corollary of how hard it is for us to break some of these habits. Granted, the formation of habits is our brain’s way of reserving our limited reserves of energy and focus for use in critical thinking and decision-making pathways. In this way, we don’t spend our days consciously thinking about the routine tasks we perform on a given day.

Unfortunately, this tendency of our brain to try and find repetitive patterns in our daily lives is also what leads us to create assumptions – assumptions about others, about how others view us, and about what we need to do to improve a situation or achieve a certain outcome.

Consider, for example, a review of numerous studies looking at the societal attitudes among the various generations which found that – contrary to popular belief or assumptions – the Millennial generation is no less racist than their preceding cohort, the Gen X generation. What’s particularly troubling about this finding is not the fact that the Millennial generation are far from being “the most tolerant generation in history”.

Rather, as this article points out, the danger these findings reveal is how the assumptions we make about ourselves and our communities can distort our understandings of the real challenges our society needs to address in order to ensure our collective success and freedoms.

These findings demonstrate a decision-making process we all employ called motivated reasoning, which brain-imaging studies have shown uses a different physical pathway in our brain than the one we use to analyze data.

Studies have shown that when we have a personal stake in a given outcome – as in the case above where we’re assessing how we view ourselves – our brain automatically Click here to continue reading »

Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting

Transforming-leadership-from-getting-to-giving

One of the wonderful benefits of our digital age is not only how we’re able to discover the talent and artistry of people we might have otherwise overlooked, but also how we’re now able to peek behind the curtain to learn what inspires them; to discover and understand what guides them to create these moments of engaging insights that linger in our mind’s eye.

It’s a concept I recently appreciated when I came upon this video by comedian Michael Jr. where he shares what he views as being the moment where he had his big break as a comedian. His description of the big break in his career is not only a heartwarming and revealing look into the art of stand-up comedy, but it also shines a light on an important lesson for today’s leaders to embrace.

Now granted, it may seem weird to pull a lesson on leadership from a comedian talking about laughter and comedy. But it becomes a bit clearer when we find out that Michael Jr.’s big break as a comedian wasn’t when he performed on The Tonight Show or at the internationally renowned Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Rather, as Michael Jr. describes in the quote below, his big break was something more internally-driven and personally significant:

“The big break was at a club and right before I got on stage, I had a change in mindset about comedy. Normally, when a comedian gets on stage, he wants to get laughs from people. I felt a little shift take place, where I felt like I was to go up there and give them an opportunity to laugh. Now I’m not looking to take. I’m looking for an opportunity to give.”

Now although this comedian is referring to the relationship he has with his audience and his shift in how he views that dynamic, there is nonetheless an important message to learn here regarding the dynamics we have as a leader with those under our care.

Specifically, it compels us to ponder the following: when we go into those meetings with our employees, when we have those conversations with those we lead, are we walking into that moment with the goal of getting something for us, or do we see it as an opportunity to give something of ourselves to those we lead?

As leaders, it’s easy to fall into the trap of Click here to continue reading »

Speak To The Heart To Lead Change

Leading-with-heart

The following is a guest piece by Dianna Booher.

“I’ve sold millions and millions of dollars during my 30 years at IBM, and it never occurred to me that people make their buying decisions based on emotion first, and then justified with logic,” John said to me over dinner a few weeks ago. “But you’re right. As I think back about the various client deals, I can see that. I definitely can see that.

Another case in point.

But more formal, rigorous research shows overwhelmingly that people base buying decisions on emotion, and then support them with logic. In a business setting, a logical argument is expected, of course. Just don’t count on the logical argument to win people over to your way of thinking.

In “The Heart of Change”, John Kotter and Dan Cohen discuss a study they conducted with Deloitte Consulting about the nature of change. The study involved more than 400 interviewees from 130 companies in the United States, Australia, Europe, and South Africa.

Their interpretation of the data? Even in large corporations that focus on very logical approaches to strategy, culture, and analysis of data, change happens because the leaders find a way to help people see problems or solutions in ways that influence their emotions, not just their reasoning.

In my own research for “What More Can I Say: Why Communication Fails and What to Do About It”, executives told me the same things over and over: To lead change, influence others, and gain commitment, speak to the heart.

So what does that mean exactly? Click here to continue reading »

How To Discover Your Organization’s Next Big Growth Opportunities

growth-innovation-mindset

The following is a guest piece by Innovation Excellence co-founder Rowan Gibson.

Today’s corporate leaders are under intense pressure to deliver continuous business growth. But where exactly is this growth supposed to come from? What most companies understand now is that the only way to drive profitable growth and wealth creation over the longer term is to innovate.

In my new book “The 4 Lenses of Innovation”, I outline four proven ways to generate the new strategic opportunities that will power your company’s future growth. One of them is the ability to look at your organization not as a collection of business units but as a portfolio of embedded competencies and assets that can potentially be repurposed, redeployed, or recombined to create new value.

By viewing your business through this particular lens, it’s possible to spot and exploit important new opportunities for expanding the boundaries of your business that you otherwise may have missed.

Let’s start with a simple question: how would you define your company? Most senior executives respond to this question by describing what the company is or what it does. For example, they might say, “We’re a bank,” or “We make office furniture,” or “We’re in the pharmaceutical business.”

This is quite understandable. It’s the most simple and straightforward reply to the question. But that’s not the way radical innovators envisage their organizations.

For example, if you Click here to continue reading »

The Leadership Legacy Of A Childhood Hero

Leonard-Nimoy-leadership-legacy

As a writer, there’s a natural tendency to examine events to see how they can shape our understanding of things and generate ideas that can be shared with others. It’s from that perspective that this piece that came to mind on the news of the passing of one of my childhood heroes, Leonard Nimoy, and what insights could be gleaned on looking back at the impact his life has had on so many around the world.

As is the case with many scientists, Star Trek inspired within me a deep love for both real-world science and science fiction. But it’s not just scientists who have been singing their praises for Leonard Nimoy’s work. Indeed, people from all walks of life have been joining in the choruses of expressing gratitude for the influence his work – and in particular his portrayal of the legendary character Mr. Spock – has had on their lives.

Granted, for some, it might be hard to appreciate what’s behind all these tributes from people all over the world, not to mention heads of state and leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. That is, of course, until we recognize that in those tributes we see people talking less about his work playing the fictional character Mr. Spock, and more about how his work influenced them.

Of how the character he gave life to inspired so many to challenge themselves to not only believe in a better tomorrow, but to become active participants in making that idea a reality.

It’s from that lens that I decided to write my own personal tribute to this childhood hero of mine, by sharing some stories from his life and what lessons we can learn from them about how we can use our leadership to bring out the best in those we lead, as well as inspire them to commit to the vision we have for the future.

1. Find opportunities to address the needs of others
One of the common statements being shared about Leonard Nimoy was how generous a person he was both to the people he worked with and to the numerous fans he met over the course of his life.

Some of the best examples of this can be seen in the efforts he made on behalf of Click here to continue reading »

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