My personal ‘balance’ philosophy is captured in the acronym FLAG. And I know this can mean many different things to different people! I use FLAG to show that there needs to be a combination of Fun, Leadership And Growth in all our endeavours. In my workshops these four elements form the cornerstones providing the framework within which balance and achievement are possible. And in our business and daily lives this applies, too. Thus ‘balance’ forms an integral part of my work as an ‘executive coach’, too.
In two separate recent ‘leadership development’ and ‘communication skills’ courses, during one of the twelve four-hour sessions, the participants, working in groups, answered the question, ‘Why is it important to incorporate Fun, Leadership, And (continuous improvement), Growth in order to achieve balance?. The consolidated input from these two groups was as follows:
- Fun energises.
- Positive energy and a positive mental attitude go together.
- Surrounding ourselves with positive people helps us to stay positive, feel good and be happy.
- Fun brings humour and laughter and this binds people together.
- This attracts more people who have common interests.
- Fun helps to get things done because people are more motivated.
- The working environment is more enjoyable for everyone.
- This builds staff morale and helps to make this the ‘firm of choice’. Staff retention improves.
- Having fun encourages us to attempt things we may have tried as children and ‘put on the back burner’. Having support helps, too.
- Fun helps us to look for the lighter side and make the best of every situation.
- ‘Fun’ needn’t be huge. Make the little things count in a suitable manner. Celebrate every step to success.
- By having fun and being positive we can ‘aim for the highest’ in everything we do. Thus fun can help to lift our standards.
- Laughter with friends increases our endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemicals.
Fun enhances opportunities to develop strong Leadership and strong teams that continuously improve (A). This leads to Growth of the Leader, team-members and individuals. Thus this element impacts on the other three ‘cornerstones’.
- Leadership, whether we are leading others or practising ‘self-leadership’ is necessary for setting our vision.
- We serve those whom we lead and we need to ‘lead with’ those whom we are serving.
- Strong leadership enhances team performance.
- Leadership provides emotional support and maintains strength within the team
- It is important to celebrate the individual successes of those whom we are leading. Give credit for achievements.
- We need to keep the group energised to achieve the vision and goals we set for them.
- The whole concept of ‘Ubuntu’ is important. The interdependence of people means that by improving Leadership for one person there is a ripple effect on all other role-players.
- As a leader it is important to know our team’s potential and thus recognise and optimise appropriate opportunities.
- Leaders need to ‘pause’ and reflect in order to optimise performance.
Strong Leadership enables clearer and more meaningful visions to be set. The approach of leaders needs to be that of ‘continuous improvement’ (A) of self, the team and individuals. The Fun element energises and aids progress. Again, the interrelationship of the three facilitates the fourth, Growth.
‘And’ implies ‘something extra’ and we use this to denote ‘continuous improvement’.
- Reflect on what needs to be improved and take appropriate action.
- Stay part of the process, avoid distance.
- Flexibility is important in continuously improving. Adapt to situations.
- Complacency causes stagnation and we should guard against that.
- Continuous improvement of ourselves involves competition with our past performance and possibly with other people. However collaboration plays a key role.
- In order to continuously improve in all areas of our lives, develop awareness. We need to use our senses more and reflect.
- It is important to constantly ask ourselves the ‘six wives and a husband’ questions – who, how, when, where, why, what, which? An ‘attitude of positive discontent’ helps us to find ways of continuously improving.
- ‘Go the extra mile’ in everything we do.
- We need to be continuously improving ways that enhances our ‘authentic selves’ rather than fitting the moulds that others build for us. In other words, ‘live for yourself and not to satisfy others expectations’
Continuous improvement (A) of product, service and the way we operate enhances our performance in all areas of our lives. This impacts on our Leadership, our ability to build, sustain and spend our energy in a meaningful way (here the F is very important) and leads to Growth. So, all four elements have impact.
- Concentrating on growth will help us to become the ‘person of choice’, ‘team of choice’, ‘organisation of choice’ etc.
- Growth means identifying the ‘gaps’ and working on ways of closing them.
- We need to communicate better in order grow as individuals, teams or organisations.
- Building strong relationships provides ‘sound bases’ on which to grow further.
- We need to simultaneously work towards the ‘vision’ and concentrate on our ‘tactics’, the steps necessary to get there.
- Building the future and maintaining the present are important for real growth to occur. For example, if we have no vision, we’ll stay where we are. (No growth). However, if we don’t ‘maintain the present’ everything will collapse and we won’t ever reach our future vision!
- In order to see how much we have grown, we need to stop, reflect and look back on the starting point and distance travelled.
Growth is an outcome of continuous improvement (And). But we need direction and Leadership to co-ordinate our efforts and make our ‘continuous improvement’ part of our journey. It can’t be ‘granular’. Without Fun this would all become a tiresome, heavy exercise and there would be little enjoyment and little motivation to continue the journey. So, Fun is an essential ingredient in our cohesive approach to balance – in whatever we do.
What are you doing to gain more ‘balance’ in your life? In a previous post entitled ‘FLAG cornerstones’ on October 26 2011, I provided a brief questionnaire from my first book, ‘Networking tactics’. These FLAG principles can easily be incorporated in leadership or self-development programmes. If you would like more information on our training courses or ‘executive coaching’, you are welcome to contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +27 33 3425432, Mobile: + 27 82 4993311.