Archives for December 2018

December 11, 2018 - No Comments!

My favorite books to read in the coming year by Sherry Benjamins

We face confusing, changing social and business forces.  It is a challenge to stay grounded.  Here are some of my favorites for thoughtful consideration and coping.  Are you interested in inspiration for the new year? Look at these options and enjoy.

  • “Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True belonging & Courage to Stand Alone” by Brene’ Brown. This is one of her best books and she challenges what we know and think about true belonging in communities, companies and culture.  Brene’ says we are going through a crisis of disconnection, and in this book she introduces four practices of true belonging.  It is the advanced discussion of authenticity she writes about in earlier books.   Teach your kids these practices.
  • “The Bell and the Blackbird” by David Whyte– Okay those of you that know me well realize I admire and follow the work of David Whyte.He is a poet and corporate philosopher. His other books are equally thought provoking and are heart felt.  His “Crossing the Unknown Sea” is about reuniting the imagination with our day to day work.  His poetry and writing helps you connect to what is important.  One of my colleagues from early career life introduce me to David Whyte and it was life-changing then and remains an inspiration for the importance of finding our path or paths many times in our life.
  • “Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life”by Francesca Gino, Harvard Professor and award-winning researcher – I really appreciated the stories that illustrate a rebellious approach at work that leads to great advances. The rebel has power and isn’t simply about breaking the rules.  Share this book with your team and take one chapter at a time to explore real life case studies.
  • “Pivot: The only Move that Matters in Your Life is Your Next One” by Jenny Blake.  If it is time to start thinking of your next move, this is the book to read.  Jenny talks about the pivot and how we shift to stay agile, whether you are making a change or not. This is very practical and she shares lots of great online tools.
  • The Knowledge Project Podcast by Shane Parrish(https://fs.blog/the-knowledge-project/) My favorite blog and podcast.  There is a wealth of information each week and Shane gives us ideas, methods, and mental models that expand our thinking aimed at living deliberately.  He hosts podcasts with fascinating people, writes articles and newsletter and you can join his community to share ideas with others. It is my go to place each week to feed my curiosity and desire for learning.

Enjoy your adventures into the New Year and be courageous.  David Whyte says that courage is the measure of our “heartfelt participation with life and with another, with a community, and our work.”

I used to have trepidation about the first month of the year.  As a business owner, it was always like starting over each January.  Now, I have entirely reframed so that it is the time to let go of things that don’t work and reach out to accept something new.  Explore what a new year means to you and often you find out what you already know and trust about your future.   We wish you the best holiday season and a peaceful Happy New Year!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter

December 11, 2018 - No Comments!

SBC Newsletter: Building Resilience for 2019 – Learning from Jeremy Hunter

We held our end of year HRoundtable session this week with an amazing group of leaders and a very special guest facilitator.  Jeremy Hunter is a long-time friend.  He is Associate Professor of Practiceand Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Instituteat the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.We were able to snag him from his teaching, speaking and coaching of senior leaders and teams to facilitate a conversation with our group on Resilience and Adapting to Challenges.

 Why this matters so much now

It mattered to our HRoundtable, comprised of 15 top HR leaders and for this session their bosses.  They wanted to talk about how they can build capacity for more positive energy and resilience to face constant and unexpected challenges. They also wanted to learn about where the human aspect of our work is going in light of AI, machine learning and robotics.  We talked about specific methods to move from mindless reaction to clear intention and ultimately effective action.

The essential skills we never learned in school

Jeremy states that while school teaches us to think, it doesn’t teach us to see. Yet, executives need clear perception in an intensely changing world to be able to effectively adapt to it. Without these tools leaders will revert to being reactive, overwhelmed with work and settling with unwanted results.

No one ever taught us to train our mind to transform our results.  It reminds me of the Keith Yamashita book, Unstuck. He writes about change and how getting stuck is just part of life.  In Keith’s change model he suggests that we must perceive the change before we engage in it.  Jeremy started us with an exercise on seeing an image and how each of us has different perceptions based on unconscious biases.  We discussed how our immediate experience is in part a unique construction based on our past, our cultural assumptions, our biological condition, and our emotional state.   Learning to see how these non-conscious forces limit our perceptions, actions and results is the necessary skill leaders need to move forward and thrive.

We have to master both the inner and outer games.

We excel at the outer game.  We historically spend a lot of our time in the external game skilling up in strategy, communications, management and more. We have perfected the learning in this area with MBA courses, how-to workshops and more.  The inner game is all about self-awareness, self-management and self-transformation. Much less time is spent on building these skills.  Yet, they are key to effectively meeting quickly changing conditions.  With over 16 year’s experience Jeremy created and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education courses dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage you first.” This is the essence of inner game.

How effective are you at managing yourself?

Managing ourselves means managing our nervous system. He introduced the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system. One branch raises our adrenaline and energy level while the other slows us down to relaxation.  When kept in balance, you can engage, connect, adapt.  When energy shifts too high, we experience a frenetic sense of scatteredness, rigidity and irritability, and an inability to relax.  In extreme cases, we withdraw, isolate and experience low energy like depression or lethargy.  Where are you most of the week?  Are you engaged and connected or running in overdrive to meet unrelenting demands and tapped out of personal energy?  Where are you your best self?

I see in the HRoundtable members a desire to connect and learn from each other. They do have huge plates of work and responsibility so finding the balance is a struggle at times.  I guess what keeps me committed to the HRoundtable (now 15 years+) is that I curate opportunities for self-awareness, learning and connection.  That is what matters and where we experience positive impact and wellbeing.

What is one method for building resilience?

We all have resources to call on in times of stress. Resources bring balance to the nervous system.  Jeremy suggests that a resource can be a positive experience you reflect on, a treasured place you enjoy or even a beloved pet.  He had us all explore three resources that help us feel strong, loved and safe. Then we detailed one resource and in doing so, we talked about how that experience positively and immediately impacted our breathing, sense of calm or muscle tension.

You could sense the calm and the energy shift in our group within ten minutes. That was pretty powerful – just imagine if we took a few moments each day to reflect on a positive resource and allowed us all to breathe.  I can’t help but imagine that this builds the capacity to stay calm and steady when things are not?  The new norm is the opposite of steady.

If you would like to learn more about building your own and leaders capacity for change or resilience, reach out to Jeremy Hunter. His site is jeremyhunter.net

More about Jeremy

 

Jeremy is Associate Professor of Practiceand the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Instituteat the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.   His work redefines productivity by cultivating quality of mind.  He graduated with a PhD from University of Chicago in Human Development and from the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government with a Master’s in Public Policy.  His work is also deeply informed by more than twenty years' experience with Asian contemplative practices.

Jeremy draws on the work of management philosopher Peter Drucker, who believed that a healthy society rested on good management.  He understood that managing oneself was the first and most essential management challenge. After all, we can’t manage anything well without first managing ourselves.

Jeremy sees life as an ongoing series of moments. How present we are for these moments determines our quality of life and the quality of our results. When we are scattered and unfocused our life becomes stressed and frenetic. “In the midst of a multitasking we react to our emotions. Misguided actions then lead to unwanted and wasteful personal and professional results. When we live with greater attention and presence we act more deliberately, prudently, and effectively. Life starts to work as it should. In short, we find peace amidst the chaos, “ says Jeremy.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter