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Yesterday I was talking to someone over the phone when we touched upon “writing a book”. Our discussion was interesting and it just evolved from talking about experiences in business and views on how to tackle things - one of which being that speed in decision making and execution are vital for success of the business and the team. And that in the end successful business stands and falls with a passionate team. And that often you see things quite clearly early in the process but to execute upon it takes a long time because things get in the way - thoughts, feelings, you reflect, you hesitate and lose momentum..
“Did you ever write a book..or consider to do so?”
“No…no..never thought about it really - there are many books already on the topic of management - good books with this ideas - I remember a book from X - that was really good. I do not think that people are really waiting for MY book.”
“Ha ha, no I do not think that that would need to be the reason to write a book - that people would be waiting for it. They have survived for centuries without your book so they will be able to cope for years to come!”
However that is not the point - whether people are waiting for it or not - it is about whether YOU want to share this or not. What you want to say to the world. How you want to contribute. Because nobody is really waiting for you in the greater perspective of things. But you are there. And while you are you better make yourself useful my grandmother used to say.
As a child I said to myself: you have the right and the duty to stand up for yourself. You need to overcome your fears of standing up and communicating your right to be there and to be taken into account and to be looked after. You are entitled to claim your position in the world - and you have the duty to do so.
Because if you do not claim your space it will be others taking it - and in the end blame you for not having expressed yourself. It will backfire on you where you thought that you were doing good in being flexible and kind to others making yourself invisible and unheard. This is a lesson of life that I had the privilege of learning very early.
The same goes for business and competition: if you are convinced that you have to be there faster than others in order to stay ahead of competition in fact you obey to the same principles: if you were not there, nobody would miss you because the competitor would fill in the gap.
True, everybody needs to contribute in their own ways - one by writing a book, others by managing business, others by doing both - or whatever way you find yourself capable.
Working with clients I often see the “how should my contribution make a difference” mentality. Or the victimized approach “They are always after me..”, “I do not matter anyway” - “who am I in the bigger picture of the organization” - and that is true of course - every body has his/her own circle of influence and we cannot all be the CEO of the organisation.
However this limitation often is not reflected in the opinions of how the company should be managed - or what could be improved and how others could make their live easier: “If Only They (name other department, management team or client’s name)…” Working with groups I often say: “It is typical how the problems always sit in the other group - regardless whether I train the whole company..!”
Taking responsibility for what you see and what you can give to the company, the world, or people in your environment in general is in my view an important thing contributing to the meaning of life. In the end you create your own meaning.
Taking responsibility is all about creating your own meaning and not letting others do that for you. Great leadership is about empowering people to create their own meaning and let them contribute to the greater scheme of things. Everybody in his/her own way and worth. But not settling for less.
Marja van Soest has been working as a director, trainer, consultant and coach in international Sales, Service and Leadership for over 25 years for a diversity of companies and audiences. Parallel to her business career Marja is a sports trainer specializing in In and Outdoor Cycling. Combining her passion for sports, groups, individual and organizational performance Marja developed a highly effective model on Motivation and Engagement underlying coaching, training and leadership interventions in organizational and personal change and development initiatives: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy. Using this model to empower leaders to build a culture of trust is her inspiration for both business and sports practices.