Leadership Evolution, You Ape

Earth Globe

In needing to kill some time while on vacation, I stepped into a used bookstore. Right away the book I Seem To Be A Verb jumped out at me. I thought it was a pretty strange title and I was intrigued. I picked it up and was introduced to Buckminster Fuller, famous American inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet, and author of the book.

I Seem To Be A Verb starts with this verse:

I live on Earth at present,

and I don’t know what I am.

I know that I am not a category.

I am not a thing — a noun.

I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process — an integral function of the universe.

Are You a Verb?

Instinctively I related to this prose. I live on earth at this present time but I have never wanted to be seen as a thing…a stationary object that is to be acted upon. I always wanted to be known as a person of action – a verb – a person who gets things done and makes things happen.

Leadership Questions:

Do you make things happen in your life and in your organization? Are you a verb or are you an immobile object that someone has to point in the right direction and tell what to do?

Are you part of an evolutionary process?

Some of the stress associated with today’s economy is symptomatic of the evolutionary process. Collectively, we resemble the new chick pecking its way out of the shell. We are pecking through the shell of 20th century paradigms, assumptions, rules and regulations, creating the new world of the 21st century.

Are you part of this evolutionary process? Are you making suggestions and pecking away at obsolete practices?

New Challenges

The opportunity of these economic times is to jettison the obsolete. This economic environment gives us an opportunity to scrutinize organizational and departmental processes, products, and services with a fine tooth comb to see what has value and what needs to be morphed or dropped immediately. Being actively involved in this process will help you be part of the evolutionary process.

Darwin is known for his “survival of the fittest” philosophy. He said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, or the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

Even though what is happening in our economy is painful, those who are responsive to change are remaining strong.

Are you an integral function of your organization? Or are you just monkeying around?

Capture the future direction of your organization and you will be part of the evolutionary process and an integral cog in the wheels that turn your organization. Most managers distinguish themselves by tightly and efficiently managing their operation and budget. These are important factors but the manager that becomes an integral part of the organization focuses on reinvesting in the organization. They identify problems and/or defects, fix them, and then take steps to prevent them from happening again. These managers raise the bar—driving the performance of their organization and their people to the next level.

A strong, vibrant organization is the result with job security for those considered an “integral function” in the organization.  Does “integral function” describe you?

Leaders Tips for Evolving the Organization

Sponsor sessions with your employees on:

  • How can we innovate?” The goal is to have new products ready when the recession ends.
  • How can we streamline processes?” It is not just about cutting costs, but it is about finding better solutions. The objective is to save as much limited capital as possible and preserve precious profits.
  • How can we increase our “stickiness” with our loyal customers?” You are looking for ways to make your company the company of choice when your customers decide to spend money.

As you conduct these sessions, be sure to:

  1. Create a fun, entertaining atmosphere so off-the-wall ideas flow freely. You can judge the merits of ideas later.
  2. Use creativity principles and activities to open minds for innovative solutions to problems.
  3. Reward employees for their ideas by turning them into entrepreneurs: Give them time and a small budget to try their ideas.

Make “expect success” your daily mantra. Added to your positive belief in the future, build morale by rewarding employees with gift cards to local Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Lowes, or your local supermarket. The value of the gift card is that it can be spent for necessities that might be short if a spouse is out of work. Those necessities include groceries and gas. Home Depot reports that gift cards today are not being spent on new kitchens and bathrooms but items to maintain the home like new faucets and light bulbs.

Be a Verb: Here’s a Fun Fresh Idea!

To increase morale and show appreciation for employees, one manager decorated the bathrooms…both women’s and men’s. Men make the trek to the 7th floor men’s room from all over the office building so they can take advantage of the chair, table, a candy bowl and the current copy of Sports Illustrated.

What are you doing to insure that you are learning and growing to become something more valuable to your team, your organization and to those you lead? How are you evolving with the times, technologies, and changing temperaments of the day? What can you do to inspire the people you work with to help them want to engage more and contribute willingly? I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!

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Karla Brandau is President of
Karla Brandau & Associates.
She can be reached at karla@karlabrandau.com

Image Source: iStock.com, z.about.com

One response to “Leadership Evolution, You Ape

  1. Karla. Great ideas, thanks for sharing. I am always ready for a new experience when I walk into a book store to just browse. It is then that I find those gems.
    I will be taking this idea into one of my workshops next week, thanks again.

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