Stability Vs. Consistency

As leaders, we often equate stability with consistency, with not having to deal with radical change. Yet, stability has other leadership meanings.

Lt. Colonel Robbie Risner’s mission one early morning in September 1965 was to attack a North Vietnamese missile plant. While flying at a low altitude toward Tunong Loc, Risner’s plane veered into a death trap. The North Vietnamese were waiting for him with heavy ground fire, and Robinson was forced to eject himself after his plane took several rounds of ammunition. . He became a prisoner of war at Hoa Lo Prison, known as The Hanoi Hilton to American POWS.

The treatment was beyond brutal. Risner spent three years in solitary confinement. But because he was a lieutenant colonel, he was still responsible for maintaining order. So, he developed an improvised messaging technique (the tap code) to endear himself to his fellow prisoners, even though they couldn’t see his face. Away from everyone, Risner sent messages to his fellow inmates, reminding them to never give up, to never succumb to the negative moment, to have faith and to remain hopeful that it would all end one day. 

For seven years, four months and 27 days, Risner was a POW. But never did he lose hope or allow overwhelmingly negative thoughts to creep into his mind. Risner knew that he had a duty to provide purpose to himself and to his fellow soldiers.

“We were lucky to have Risner. With Captain (James) Stockdale, we had wisdom. With Risner, we had spirituality," said Commander Everett Alvarez Jr., the first U.S. pilot held as a Prisoner of War in Southeast Asia. 

It wasn’t a false hope or wishful thinking that Risner provided. He instead gave them the stability of purpose. He was their rock, their spiritual advisor. 

As leaders, we often equate stability with consistency, with staying away from radical change. Yet, stability has other leadership meanings, which Risner demonstrated. By being positive and providing hope, he stabilized his men, allowing them to believe that there would be a future away from the camp no matter how challenging the present was. His stability gave them a positive vision of tomorrow even as they endured the pain of today.   

We often discuss how badly people need stability, how stabilizing those we lead will give them desperately-needed continuity. But stability also consists of reassurance; it involves a constant reminder of the day's task and the future. The words we choose as leaders help stabilize our teams. When we can be positive and paint a realistically optimistic future, we get people to believe. 

And through strong beliefs, the impossible suddenly becomes achievable. Take it from Robbie Risner. 

The Horse and the Canine

Day in and day out, we interact with teammates whom we seemingly have little in common with.

On the surface, it would appear the horse and the dog in the picture above have little in common.

The horse has a brown mane, the canine black. The horse weighs hundreds of pounds more. He’s on his hooves, the German shepherd is resting comfortably.

The image taken by the Vancouver Police Department’s Mounted Unit is in many ways a perfect snapshot into our leadership worlds.

Day in and day out, we interact with teammates whom we seemingly have little in common with. Our appearances are different, our backgrounds can be polar opposites, our work styles are frequently not aligned.

Yet, we’re forced to set all of this aside to achieve a collective mission.

Jedi, the horse, could be standoffish and choose to ignore Solo, his canine companion. Solo could be rambunctious and run circles around Jedi. They could both be uncontrollable and drive their handlers insane.

But in this picture, Jedi takes a measured approach, leaning over to reach Solo’s level, while Solo lies peacefully on the ground, entirely receptive to his larger companion.

Each day, we’re either Jedi or we’re Solo. We’re either the protagonist or the receptor to someone we may not obviously connect with. We can be cold and confrontational, or open minded and easy going. We can refuse to engage or be willing to embrace what others may offer.

Regardless of the differences we have with our team members, we must find ways to connect and ultimately complete whatever challenge we’re presented.

We can’t be standoffish just because we have more experience. We can’t be confrontational just because of our title. We can’t be cold just because we may have some different philosophies and viewpoints.

If you’re struggling to connect with a teammate today or have some key concerns about whether your styles actually mesh, take an extra look at this image and give the partnership a little more effort.

Jedi’s and Solo’s many differences are outweighed by their shared goal of public safety.

It’s a lesson we could all benefit from.

The Closed Office Door

It’s easy for workers to misconstrue the closed office door as the harbinger of some bad news for the excluded.

The picture above of a closed office door has many implications. The leader behind it may not intentionally be trying to send a message; yet, when the door closes, and no one can see what’s going on behind it, those on the other side will likely draw four conclusions:

  1. Privacy. The person behind the glass wants total privacy as he/she is working on something vital. It may be a project or simply a phone call that requires no one listening in or disturbing it.    

  2. Performance. The person behind the glass wants to focus solely on his/her performance. Their work, although not secretive, requires total concentration and no help from others. 

  3. Peace. The person behind the glass wants peace — no outside contact, wants to be left alone, doesn’t want to socialize, doesn’t care about anything other than finding quiet time. Creating peace allows distance to come between everyone in the company, creating an us vs. them mentality. 

  4. Perturbed. The person behind the glass is mad; he/she is angry, anxious and doesn’t want to contact office members.

None of the four will ultimately yield positive results in the long term. In fact, according to Inc., a closed office door “freaks people out.” Based on research, it implies bad news or the desire to flaunt authority and power. It’s easy for workers to misconstrue the closed office door as the harbinger of some bad news for the excluded. According to the article, “A shut door sends this message of division, people become scared not just of the hardship that could be coming, but of not being included anymore. We feel like we’re being shut out, discarded or labeled as not good enough.”

We all know people need quiet time, they need privacy, and at times the closed-door might be the only way to do it. So, what should the leader do to offset the negative implications of a closed door? It’s simple. Be transparent about why the door is closed and why it matters and find some alternative ways to achieve the same results without having to close it.

We ultimately want to make those around us feel included, and transparency is vital to achieving this. When we don’t close the door, we open communication channels, allowing team members to play their roles even more effectively.

Sunday Thinking

I let go of the past, and step into the only moment that is guaranteed ― the present.

Note: You are receiving this email because you subscribe to The Daily Coach

The weekly Sunday Thinking newsletter is quick-hit content that aims to provide a booster shot to your thought process as you end and start your week.

“We are in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear, a long march from birth to death in which we mass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while slowly losing our youthful beauty. This is a brutal untruth. Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”

― Katherine May, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

I. Leading Beyond the Status Quo

Look beyond what is into what can be as you empower those you lead with grace, enthusiasm, courage, humility, innovation, and creativity.

Transformational leaders and positive difference makers:

  • Learn to allow their team to discover who they are.

  • Understand it is not what they know instead what they can get their team to believe in and buy into.

  • Realize asking their team where they want to be five years from now might be the most important question they will ever ask them.

II. When Preparation Meets Opportunity

There are 3 primary drivers of results in life:

  1. Your luck (randomness).

  2. Your strategy (choices).

  3. Your actions (habits).

Only 2 of the 3 are under your control. But if you master those 2, you can improve the odds that luck will work for you rather than against you.

Source: James Clear, Atomic Habits

III. Mastering the Moment 

Gentle reminders to live fully and presently no matter the circumstances:

  • Opportunities and obstacles live in the same neighborhood.

  • Our life is no better than the relationship we have with our pasts and minds.

  • The ability to see the bright side and lessons of a seemingly hopeless situation becomes true mental toughness + emotional maturity.

  • What we give our attention to grows. The choice is within our control, where we put that focus.

IV. What We’re Excited About

Is remote work here to stay? Whether hybrid or full, the answer is YES. So, why not learn some strategies to make it work for you and your business?

We’re excited to join this FREE live virtual event on Wednesday, June 16th @ 04:00PM ET hosted by Sandeep Todi, the Co-Founder and CBO of Truly Financial.

Marissa Goldberg (Founder of Remote Work Prep), Alexander Embiricos (Co-Founder of Remotion), and Pavla Bobosikova (CEO and Co-Founder of WFHomie), experts on remote work, will give you some crucial tips on how to build your team to maximize your business remotely.

Learn strategies to empower your remote/hybrid workforce and explore how to overcome common remote work obstacles. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to network with other forward thinking attendees today!

Register Now & Save Your Spot For FREE

V. Question

Over the last year, what has become more important to you? What has become less important?

VI. This Week I Will

  1. Not complain.

  2. Win the NOW.

  3. Put in the reps.

  4. Nurture a beginner’s mind.

  5. Find solutions over excuses.

The Last Words…

“If all you did was just looked for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.”

― Esther Hicks, Inspirational Speaker & Author

Interested in partnering with The Daily Coach? Email us at Newsletter@TheDaily.Coach

Truth Telling + Recommended Reading

Doubt is the beginning of wisdom.

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Truth Telling is a newsletter that commits to uncovering the bare truths of life for all to see. It is our attempt to live inside the mental landscapes of the world’s elite thinkers.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

— John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1963

“We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs ... and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”

— Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

“There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained when we give them to others. Give it away to get it back.”

— John Wooden, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court

What We’re Reading Online

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