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e9 Corporate Coaching

Beyond what you thought possible

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The e9 Coaching Model

e9's coaching model contains 9 steps to take the client from wherever they are to becoming a warrior at work, as described below.

e1. encounter

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Inventory our selves and lives. Assess our strengths and weaknesses, joys, fears, dreams, and mental blocks.



Go there

e2. engage

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Actively take responsibility for what we want in life, decisions that are  necessary along the way, making course corrections, and addressing issues. Choose to get in the game.  


Go There

e3. exhale

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Managing our current life and future dreams together increases our load for a while. Clearing our heads allows us to think about what comes next. The first step may be making a plan for how to clear time and clear our heads.  

Go there

e4. expect

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Knowing that we will succeed is a key component to continued movement up the e9 ladder. This is a great time to look at mental blocks and old stories that need to be released.    

Go there

e5. express

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Being able to communicate assertively, actively, and effectively with those around us - at all moments, when tired, when frustrated, when surprised - is a key indicator of success.    

Go there

e6. enlarge

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Help to expand and advance other team members. Look for ways to give away attention rather than hoarding it - praise for good work, appreciation for help, or support with challenges. 

Go there

e7. excel

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Being able to assess your self, engage with your job and your life, find time to clear your head, expect success, ask for what you need and communicate any setbacks, and support your team, will significantly increase your ability to hit goals.   


Go there

e8. elevate

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The cabin shakes the most when you're closest to the goal. We're not going small here, we're going BIG, which requires taking control of your brain’s protection system, and teaching it the NEW reality of who you are. It may require a fight.     



Go There

e9. expand

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This critical step is what leads to your new life. Now that you've reached your dream, you have the treasure map to get from e1 to e9, where you do it all again, NOW knowing what is possible. There was no way for you to know how much was possible until you discovered it yourself. Now you've rewired your brain.

Go There

e1. Encounter

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First, Ask Yourself If You're Wanting Something Bigger or Better

Maybe you feel like something is missing. Even if things are already good, there is probably something you’ve been wishing that you could do, be, or have. If you haven’t allowed yourself to dream about what you want, I encourage you to give yourself permission to do that now. For this week you don’t have to take any actions toward your dream, you just have to think about what it is that you want. After all, this is your life, right? We are not practiced at dreaming and thinking about concepts like "joy" or "what we really want" but this dream can act as a beacon as we move forward over the next year. It doesn't mean making dramatic life changes, selling everything you own, pulling kids out of school, and moving to a foreign country, though, it could, if that's what you want. It could mean something as simple as staying right there at your desk at work and having that conversation with your boss to ask for a new role you'd like to take on.   


Often we identify common dreams like more money, more performance, more success. This is because we're not practiced at dreaming. I challenge you to think bigger - about the emotional payoffs like more joy, more flexibility, more opportunities, more ease, more independence. The object of your dream is usually linked to an emotion. You'll know when you've hit it when you sit up straight in your chair and think "THAT'S what I REALLY want." Wanting more money may really mean wanting more freedom, excitement, or more ease. Greater performance may mean wanting more belief in ourselves, knowing that we can help, or more acceptance from the team. If things have been stable for a while, maybe it’s mixing it up and finding more challenge. You don’t have to decide now – you can work on it in the next step but this is a good time to start thinking about it. 


Second, ask yourself if you’re willing to do a little thinking about what can be done to shift to a different place. Keep in mind that this doesn’t have to mean upheaval in your life, it can be a gradual, planful shift. 


A good growth process begins with self-assessment to set the playing field. High performers are feedback junkies, allowing them to continually assess next steps for themselves. There are many good assessments available, but these are currently my favorites:   


Personality style – Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) 

The MBTI was created by Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers who started studying personality types in the 1920s and published a book in the 1960s that launched the popularity of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. (http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics ) I’ve found it to be invaluable for understanding both myself and others. Once all the types are understood it completely changes conversations from frustration and misunderstanding to appreciation of differences. People sometimes have resistance to this kind of assessment saying that they “don’t want to be put in a box”, and it’s important to understand that this is about preferences, not absolutes. Each of the 4 characteristics is shown on a continuum, not as a yes/no determination. We all have varying amounts of all characteristics, and knowing which ones we usually rely on tells us about we relate to others. Around the Thanksgiving table at my house comments like “I need I-time” (for introvert) can occasionally be thrown about in a good-natured way. This can change not just how you see people at work, but how you understand people at home as well.    


Conflict style – Thomas Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) 

The TKI was created by Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann in 1974 and since then 8,000,000 copies have been disseminated. It “allows you to discover whether you might be overusing or underusing one or more of these five conflict-handling modes: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating.” (http://www.kilmanndiagnostics.com/catalog/thomas-kilmann-instrument-one-assessment-person) The assessment doesn’t consider why you act this way, it simply reflects back to you your primary tendencies when in conflict. The key assumption is NOT that conflict is bad, but instead that different responses to conflict are appropriate at different times.    


Emotional Style – Emotional Intelligence 

“When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses in 1995, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time… Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.” (http://www.talentsmart.com/about/emotional-intelligence.php )  


The pioneering book on Emotional Intelligence was published by psychologist Daniel Goleman in 1995, was on the New York Times best seller list for a year and a half, and is now available in 40 languages. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 was published in 2009 by Drs. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, who both hold PhDs in industrial-organizational psychology. 2.0 is a quick read with concrete advice whereas Goleman’s original book is much more in-depth.   The assessment looks at four key competencies in the personal and social realms which are: 

- self-awareness

- self-management

- social-awareness

- relationship management. 

This provides critical knowledge about our tendencies before we get to e9's “Express”, the 5th and perhaps most complex “E” that is focused on communication.   

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e2. Engage

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Your life. Bigger. Stop running and take control of the game.

Once we know a little about who we are from the first “E”, Encounter, the next step, e2, is to dream about our lives. There are 10 rules to follow for effective dream building:

1) Dream big

2) Play hot and cold

3) DON’T tell anyone

4) DON’T worry if nothing initially comes to mind

5) It has to be something that genuinely grips you, whether subtly or overtly

6) DON’T think about how to make it happen 

7) The dreaming never stops, it evolves – plan to revisit your dreams every 3-5 years

8) You are now the driver - start using your GPS

9) Baby steps

10) DON’T get stuck in analysis mode


Reading list:

1. Be Yourself At Work: 7 Reasons it Pays Off, Inc.com, Minda Zetlin, 3/18/14, https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/why-you-need-to-put-your-real-self-in-your-professional-image.html 

2. Stop Trying to Find Your True Self at Work, Harvard Business Review, 4/13/15. https://hbr.org/2015/04/stop-trying-to-find-your-true-self-at-work 

3. Agile Is Not Enough, Forbes, Demian Entrekin, 5/19/17. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/05/19/agile-is-not-enough/#273cfa3c4bfb 

4. The Benefits of Using Agile Software Development, Forbes Technology Council, Forbes, 5/9/16. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2016/05/09/the-benefits-of-using-agile-software-development/#5fcdcaf3b0f8 


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e3. Exhale

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Parallel tracking your new life and current life with you and other you

Whether your dream involves changing jobs, staying in your current job, getting promoted, a significant shift or a minor tweak, to Exhale means to manage stress, prioritize, and make time to think about what comes next. Someone once told me “it’s up to you to find time to be networking” at a time that I was thinking about changing jobs. I was at full speed all day every day for long hours with no lunch break to keep the team moving and achieve our yearend goals. What he told me may have been true, but it wasn’t very helpful advice while I was buried in work. 


1. If not now, then schedule when


2. Make your happiness list

You don’t have to call it a happiness list; you can call it whatever speaks to you, but if we don’t add this in somewhere it really is possible to live the rest of our lives meeting goals at work, and filling our lives outside of work with business networking, meetings with financial planners or tax accountants or architects, volunteer duties, or family responsibilities, and forgetting to check in with ourselves about whether all of this is making us happy, joyful, or fulfilled.  


3. Just because you have time in your calendar doesn’t mean you have room in your soul

Prioritizing means not just arranging your work responsibilities but also combining those with your personal priorities to create a complete picture of your life, and where and when you have mental space. Changing things in our lives takes mental/ emotional energy to confront fear and doubt and excitement while keeping current with the tasks of our jobs and lives. 


4. Getting to the next level in your life may mean increasing the level of energy in your body

Accept that your emotional energy for succeeding in life, and the clarity of your thinking, are both linked to your body. Think about all the things that affect your energy in a given day. 


5. In order to achieve dreams and hit goals, become a pro at shifting your energy

Our days rarely go as expected. How often do you start the day with a list of 20 things that you’re going to get done, and find at the end of the day that you’ve accomplished two of them? How often does someone unexpectedly cut you off in traffic? 


Now that you have (e1) Encountered yourself and your strengths, weaknesses and habits, (e2) Engaged with your dreams, and (e3) Exhaled in order to plan your path to your dreams and manage your energy to get there, it’s time to start (e4) Expecting success. One of the key components to managing our energy is getting rid of the negative voices in our heads that tell us everything that can go wrong or all the reasons why something won’t work, because it saps our energy for moving forward.


Reading list:

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal (2005) – Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Full-Engagement-Managing-Performance/dp/0743226755

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e4. Expect

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Expect that you will find a way to get to WHEREVER you want to go

What we think affects how much physical energy we have

There are many common demonstrations of the connection between our mind and body. 


As discussed in e3. Exhale, moving in the direction of your dreams causes mental stress because, a) truly considering our dreams can be intimidating, and b) it’s going to add items to our to do list for a while to figure out how to start going after what we really want. Thus, managing our physical/ emotional energy every day becomes top priority.


Then, most importantly, expect the results you seek before they have arrived 

You know the blue car theory that says when you buy a blue car you suddenly see blue cars everywhere? If you are expecting that you won’t find a way to make your dreams happen, what you’ll see everywhere are reasons that it won’t happen. 


Expect that it’s not a straight line

Sailing a boat toward a goal is rarely ever a straight line. The path depends on the waves and the wind and whether there’s a whale in the way. The work in e2. Engage becomes important here. The work we did dreaming about what we want and identifying the goal becomes the beacon for effective decision making. 


When in doubt, return to e3. Exhale 

As you begin this process you’ll find that it’s exciting to think about that dream, and to begin expecting that you can make it happen. Then one of two things will occur. Either 1) your exuberance will naturally subside as you go about managing the responsibilities of your daily life, or 2) something unexpected will arise that throws you off. 


WHEN THIS HAPPENS return to e3. Exhale, and re-prioritize. 


Finally, look for flows that are headed where you want to go

Swimming upstream or cross-stream is necessary on occasion to change direction, but uses excessive amounts of energy and will tire you out quickly if you’re doing it for long periods of time. Thus, the best way to advance in any pursuit is to figure out how to find a flow that’s going your direction and swim with it. 


Reading list:


 1. For the love of the Game, Michael Jordan. 1998: Crown. 

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Game-Michael-Jordan/dp/B011MAWLXA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516306657&sr=1-2&keywords=for+the+love+of+the+game+jordan

  

2. Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, Joan Borysenko, PhD. 2007: Da Capo Press.https://www.amazon.com/Minding-Body-Mending-Mind-Borysenko/dp/0738211168/ref=la_B000AP7T7C_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1516310121&sr=1-2


3. Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, John Sarno, M.D. 1991: Warner Press. https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Back-Pain-Mind-Body-Connection/dp/0446557684/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516310704&sr=8-1&keywords=healing+back+pain  

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e5. Express

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Four proven effects of Emotional Intelligence on your success or failure (and what to do about it)

When I was in grad school at MIT I took a fabulous leadership class that focused on discussions with CEOs and Senior VPs of major companies who talked to us week after week after week, and our only task was to “ask them anything”. We talked about work-life balance, their failures and how they handled them, and one question that came up over and over in every class.


The question was, “what do you do if you have top performers who don’t fit the culture of the company? If they don’t get along with others?” The answer of EVERY one of the CEOs we spoke to was “you get rid of them.” There were no other answers given. 


Jack Welch as CEO of General Electric became famous for developing excellent leaders and made surprising news when he announced that GE could “no longer afford” to keep managers who delivered results but did not live GE’s values. 


What is emotional intelligence?

According to Daniel Goleman, who wrote the seminal book on Emotional Intelligence[1], it has 5 components, which in a later book called Primal Leadership[2] he reduced to 4:

• Self-awareness

• Self-management

• Social awareness

• Relationship management

Emotional Intelligence is a BIG skill, backed by MUCH psychological theory. Books and trainings on assertiveness, nonviolent communication, Crucial Conversations, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and conflict styles are readily available. 


Emotional Intelligence Affects Corporate Performance

A study published on behalf of the Johnson graduate School of Management at Cornell University of 62 CEOs and their management teams found that the more positive the overall moods of people in the team, the more cooperatively they worked together, and the better the company’s business results. [3] Common sense suggests that when people are happy at work they are more engaged in their jobs and that emotionally intelligent leaders, who are good at building rapport with others, will have more happy people working for them.


However, negative emotions such as chronic anger, anxiety, or a sense of futility can hijack an employee’s attention, disrupting his or her ability to complete work effectively. If stress is high and sustained, the cortisol produced in the brain can actually kill brain cells that are required for learning. Distress also makes people less emotionally intelligent because being upset causes them to be distracted by their own emotions and thus have a hard time accurately reading emotions in other people[4]


1. The probability of getting hired is predicted by emotional intelligence

According to a CareerBuilder survey conducted with 2,600 hiring managers[5]:

- 71% said they value Emotional Intelligence (“EI”) over IQ.

- 59% of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low EI.

- For workers being considered for a promotion, 75% said they’re more likely to promote the high EI worker.


Communication is required to navigate the terrain at work with a group of people whom you didn’t personally select, some of whom may annoy you or may talk too loud or too soft or too fast or too slow, who may eat stinky food at their desks for lunch or always miss deadlines making everyone else behind schedule, or often have excuses or make frequent mistakes, or have confidence issues or ask too many questions, or have ego issues and always think they’re right, or make decisions too quickly, or take way too long and NEVER make decisions. 


2. The probability of management success is predicted by emotional intelligence

A less formal study reported in the Harvard Business Review of success rates in 250 managers revealed failure rates of 25% for non-emotionally intelligent recruits versus 3-4% failure rates for emotionally intelligent candidates.[6]


The most important areas to focus on are:

- Under normal conditions - your ability to connect with others

- Under adverse conditions - how you handle yourself in conflict, under stress, or when frustrated, to negotiate effectively and produce results

- Under extreme conditions – how to censor or remove yourself when you are triggered, “in the grip” as my Myers Briggs certification trainer called it; when you are NOT your best self – the part you’re embarrassed about, that you don’t want to admit exists about you, that you don’t want to think about as you read this


3. Your ability to forecast your business – and life – are predicted by emotional intelligence

According to a Harvard Business Review article on Cognitive Fitness: For executives trying to make sense of a rapidly changing business environment, superiority in pattern recognition is perhaps the greatest competitive advantage that can be developed.[7]


In 2007 Philip Tetlock, now at Wharton, and previously Professor of Organizational Behavior  and Mitchell Chair in Leadership at UC Berkeley, released results of 18 years of research on the accuracy of 28,000 forecasts made by 284 experts, further reported in his 2015 New York Times bestseller with Dan Gardner[8] which concluded that:

- The accuracy of the experts’ forecasts was predicted by HOW people think rather than WHAT they think. More specifically, people who know many things win over people who know one great thing.

- People who are far better forecasters are skeptical about grand theories, diffident in their forecasts, and ready to adjust their ideas based on actual events.

- The level of a forecasters accuracy is inversely related to their fame, and to their need to justify their theories.[9]

Tetlock’s “superforecasters” can consider many viewpoints and theories and select from them as appears appropriate. 


Being able to forecast ANYTHING well – the success of a product launch, the needs of your clients, the future needs of your team, when your technology will become overburdened, the financial trajectory of your business – requires emotional intelligence in order to stay detached from your theories, let go of your need to prove yourself, and when necessary “confront the brutal facts” as taught years ago in Good to Great (Jim Collins, 2001.)


4. Your job satisfaction is predicted by emotional intelligence

In its 2016 global CEO survey, PwC reported that 55% of CEOs think that a lack of trust is a threat to their organization’s growth… Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout.[10]


According to a study released in 2009 by the National Institutes of Mental Health[11], emotionally stable and conscientious participants reported higher incomes and job satisfaction among 731 participants.


Communication with those around you is perhaps the most important skill in work and life. It’s how the person WE are interfaces with who someone ELSE is. Our ability to be who or what we are is limited by the extent to which we successfully interface with other people in order to get what we need to be joyful, effective, and successful. Whether our goals are altruistically focused on helping others, or more inwardly focused, our ability to get what we want requires communicating with others unless we plan to be sitting in a room by ourselves for the rest of our lives. 


Think About Your Two Most Recent Failures and Ask Yourself Who YOU Were Being

No one is a perfect communicator except, perhaps, the Dalai Lama who has spent his life working on almost nothing else. Don’t be afraid of assessing your communication skills – know that you are not alone in your weak spots, and EVERYONE has them. Also know that the OPPOSITE of those weird things that bother you probably point to your key values, so there is a valid reason that they bother you. If you don’t know where your weak spots are it can hold you back.


Get ready for this because your brain will want to shut down and run the other direction, so focus and decide now to make it through this brief exercise:

- Think about two times that you failed. The ones that you’ve done yoga and meditation to try to let go of and still stick with you. The ones that aren’t really your fault, when circumstances or people seemed to conspire against you, when things were unfair.

- Notice that when you read the next sentence your brain is going to come up with all the reasons this has nothing to do with you.

- Ask yourself who YOU were being when that failure happened. Force your brain to think about it.  

The biggest question is not who we are at our best, it’s who we are at our worst. The failures that stay with us, that we can’t let go of, are usually due to something that we can’t forgive in OURSELVES which is why it sticks with us. THIS is what can hold you back.


Solutions

1. Know your “why”. When you aren’t sure WHY you care about changing this – if you haven’t completed e2. Engage and identified YOUR dreams and where YOU want to go, your response to anyone suggesting that you work on emotional intelligence may be apathy or rebellion[12]. The solution is to link your learning to your dreams so that you personally are invested in why you care. 


2. Being alert to situations that in the past have triggered our old habits makes us able to choose a new more positive reaction [13] The three key inputs to good communication are assertiveness, confidence, and empathy. The first gives you the natural skills to introduce what you need to discuss with an appropriate tone of voice (once taught to me by a trainer as a “please pass the butter” tone of voice). The second allows you to receive their reaction or response without taking it personally. The third allows you to decide that it’s not about you, or not completely about you, and put more emphasis on their needs. But knowing this doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to practice it in the moment, until you identify what tends to trigger your frustration and anger so that you’re ready to practice a new response as needed. 


3. If you haven’t had the chance to complete the kind of assessments mentioned in e1. Encounter, the Myers Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) can tell you which of your MBTI traits will likely dominate in each of the 4 situations listed above. The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode instrument tells you where your conflict style lands, under various circumstances, along two axes for cooperativeness, and assertiveness.


If you don’t learn how to become comfortable with e5.Expressing – if you avoid it – you are likely to stew on it until you become enraged, and either get snippy with obviously-errant colleagues who will subsequently eat tuna fish every day for lunch at their desk after requesting to be moved to the desk next to yours. Or you’ll take it out on your spouse when you get home and then be spooning with the dog for a week. 


Reading list:

1. Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Life and Relationships (2007) - Robert Alberti PhD and Michael Emmons PhD

2. Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ (2005) – Daniel Goleman 

3. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (2009) - Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

    

[1] Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ, Danial Goleman, 1995, 2005, Bantam Books.


[2] Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee, 2002: Daniel Goleman.


[3] To Your Heart’s Content: A Model of Affective Diversity In Top Management Teams. Sigal G. Barsade et al. Administrative Science Quarterly, December, 2000. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2667020?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents 


[4] See 2. 


[5] http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?id=pr652&sd=8/18/2011&ed=08/18/2011


[6] Ignore Emotional intelligence at Your Own Risk, Harvard Business Review, 10/22/14. https://hbr.org/2014/10/ignore-emotional-intelligence-at-you-own-risk


[7] Cognitive Fitness, Roderick Gilkey & Clint Kilts, November 2007, Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2007/11/cognitive-fitness                           


[8] Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner, 2015: Crown. https://www.amazon.com/Superforecasting-Science-Prediction-Philip-Tetlock/dp/0804136696/ 


[9]  How to Predict the Future Better Than Everybody Else, Ana Swanson, Washington Post, January 4, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/04/how-to-predict-the-future-better-than-everybody-else/?utm_term=.1269fcbee94e 


[10] The Neuroscience of Trust, Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2017. https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust 


[11] 2009, National Institutes of Mental Health, Personality and Career Success: Concurrent and Longitudinal Relations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2747784/


[12] See 2.


[13] See 2.

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e6. Enlarge

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That's amazing! And I love that sweater that's been on the back of your chair for 5 years.

Years ago when I was first learning how to be part of a team, I searched for a book to teach me the theory of how to be a good team member. I found MANY books on how to lead a team, but had to look hard to find something intelligently written on how to be a team member. This 6th “E” is named for my favorite trait from Patrick Lencioni’s 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player. I’ve bought this book for everyone that I’ve ever managed.


What is Enlarging?

Being Enlarging means giving to your teammates. Giving credit, giving praise, and giving opportunities. It creates an upward spiral, a swirling vortex of everyone giving to each other. 


Public recognition not only uses the power of the crowd to celebrate successes, but also inspires others to aim for excellence. And it gives top performers a forum for sharing best practices, so others can learn from them.[1]


Our Personal History Affects Our Ability to be Enlarging

The ability to be enlarging to others is affected by one’s own emotional triggers and childhood experiences. What? Yes. Trust me. A Harvard Business Review article from 2016 called “The Family Dynamics We Grew Up With Shape How We Work” summarized this nicely. 


Our ability to relate to others at work is also somewhat described by attachment theory[2]. The psychological theory originally created by Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby in the mid-1900s and subsequently expanded upon by others is detailed and technical, but in general, if we weren’t able to attach to our parents as a child then we probably didn’t attach to friends very well growing up and we won’t attach very well to adults at work. 


Avoid Enlarging Through Back-Handed Compliments

Being Enlarging relies on an ability to enlarge co-workers for things that matter to them. 


What if You’re the Only One? 

If your team is stuck in a “taking” vortex, vying for recognition or opportunities, then trust may be low on the team. The first few times you give away opportunities to others, or recognize them for their work, your co-workers may look for other motives, and create stories around why you’re acting the way you are. 


Reading list:

1. The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants, John C. Maxwell, 2007.

2. “The Family Dynamics We Grew Up With Shape How We Work”, Roger Jones, Harvard Business Review, 7/19/16. https://hbr.org/2016/07/the-family-dynamics-we-grew-up-with-shape-how-we-work  

    

[1] The Neuroscience of Trust, Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review, January-February 2017. https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-neuroscience-of-trust


[2] Attachment styles at work: Measurement, collegial relationships, and burnout. Michael P. Leiter, Arla Day, Lisa Price. Science Direct, Elsevier, February 27, 2015. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213058614200052


[3] See 1.

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e7. Excel

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If we knew how to achieve our goals we’d already be there

Now that you’re (mostly) communicating effectively and enlarging your team, it’s time to focus on hitting your own goals. When we decide what OUR goals are for ourselves, what we really want to achieve and who we really want to BE, our priorities shift. We have a new lens based on where WE want to go – not based on managers or friends or others’ expectations. 


Step 1. Complete a Wheel of Life. Google “Wheel of Life” and you’ll find apps for your phone, web sites with interactive versions, and Word docs that are the same basic 1-page exercise. 


Step 2. Identify your annual goals. Figure out the areas of your career and life that you would like to make better, and how you would like to make them better. An important part of this step is to avoid listing what you DON’T want, like “I want my boss to leave me alone” because it’s not inspiring.


Step 3.  Go bigger. 


Step 4. Create 30-day commitments. 


Step 5. Blockbusting. The hardest part of all of this is working through blocks. They are subtle and sinister. They feel very real and valid.


This is where 97% of us get stopped. This is where the work is. At a minimum it requires an accountability partner to keep you moving. The most effective accountability partner is a corporate coach or business coach, who is trained to help get you through blocks. 


Step 6. Check in. Notice if your annual goals aren’t exciting you. Go back to e2. Engage.


Step 7. Become a time management master. Once you’ve got your annual goals and 30-day commitments, you’ll be living a dual life as discussed in e2. Engage and e3. Exhale. E


Step 8. Fill the tank.  In order to achieve bigger goals we have to take different actions. Which means becoming better at filling our tank. 

  

Step 9. Become a superhero at taking ACTION. 

As Gary Keller states in The ONE Thing, “Putting together a life of extraordinary results simply comes down to getting the most out of what you do… Living for productivity produces extraordinary results.”[2]


Reading list:

1. The Only Thing You Need to Remember About the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Forbes, Eric Jackson, 7/1/18

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R Covey. 2004: Free Press. 

3. 16 Things Your Successful Friends Have Given Up, Medium.com, Tim Denning, 4/11/17

    

[1] Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. 2002: Daniel Goleman.

[2] The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. Rellek Publishing Partners, Ltd.: 2012. 

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e8. Elevate

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The cabin shakes the most when you’re closest to your goal

After you finish getting through blocks in e7. Excel, and do all the hard work to let go of fear and envision your new life, the final block to get through is NOT GIVING UP. You probably have this on a refrigerator magnet by now, but here’s what this really looks like.


Train Your Brain

You can be sure that everything will start to go wrong, to test your resolve, to make you turn back. You’ll have your first-ever or worst-ever argument with your boss, or your back will go out and you’ll miss your first deadline EVER. 


What happens in this e8. Elevate step is you take control of your brain’s protection system and teach it the NEW reality of who you are. It may require a fight. 


Hold the Line

As you read this, getting to e8 may not seem difficult, but when you get here, when you have nothing left blocking you from BECOMING, your brain’s defenses, which are wired to keep you out of danger, will redouble to convince you that the old familiar way is safer and easier and more “realistic”.


Visualizing Your New Life Tricks Your Brain’s Defenses

Studies have shown that when we picture something in our mind, or actually look at it, the same neurons fire in our brains[1]. Our brains don’t know the difference between physically seeing something, and mentally visualizing it. 


The Cabin Shakes the Most When You’re Closest to Your Goal

Until now you’ve had legitimate excuses not to be DOING the thing you dream of, because you’ve actually been really busy.

- You likely started with a process like the one described in e1. Encounter. Something triggered you to want something better, and you did some investigation to determine what that better something is. 

- Suddenly you were thrust into e2. Engage where your life got more interesting and compelling than it has been in a while, and you began living a double life – maintaining the life you’ve had while starting to build a new one. 

- Then e3. Exhale became necessary as your excitement caused overwhelm about how to manage everything at once. 

- You addressed your mindset with e4. Expect to make sure the blue car theory is working in your favor (when you buy a blue car you see blue cars everywhere – we see opportunities related to our frame of reference.) 

- You worked on your e5. Express ability to be assertive and ask for what you want and need, and you also increased your emotional intelligence to more effectively leverage relationships with others.

- Along the way you discovered that teams which are capable of e6. Enlarging each other are much more effective, and you learned to become part of one. 

- You identified YOUR goals (not your boss’s or spouse’s) in e7. Excel and began tackling 30-day commitments to move toward each goal. This may have involved developing new products, or getting better at public speaking, finding business partners or suppliers, or building web sites and marketing messages. You completed a lot of work here to begin making your dream a reality. 


While you are training your brain, holding the line, and being brave, read the books on the reading list below, which are both quick reads. They will help prepare you for managing a team, which is likely in your future.


Reading list:

1. Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box. The Arbinger Institute. Second edition 2015: Berrett-Koehler Publisher.

2. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Patrick Lencioni. 2002: Jossey-Bass.

3. Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others. Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas. 2012: Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas. 

    

[1] Imagery Neurons in the Human Brain, Gabriel Kreiman, Christof Koch, Itzhak Fried, Nature, November 16, 2000. https://www.nature.com/articles/35042575  


[2] Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. Daniel Goleman: 2002. 

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e9. Expand

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If we keep thinking the way we’ve always thought, we’ll get the same results we’ve always gotten

When I let my dogs out every day they run into the yard on the same path along the fence. My little dog barks at the big dog as they run down the stairs and race along what is now a groove they have made in the ground. My big dog stands in the same place along the fence every day to watch people walk up and down the street. They have the whole yard accessible to them but they run the same track consistently. This groove is exactly what happens in our brains – the more we do something one way, the more we build a tendency to keep doing it that way. The groove gets physically created in our brains. 


A New Groove in Your Brain

The REAL value of this e9 process isn’t that you’re going after your dream. Yes, that’s what you’ve been working toward for weeks or months, breaking through blocks and fears and managing a double-sized to do list. But what’s REALLY been happening – the REAL pot of gold that you’ve been working toward – is that you’re training your brain to know what is possible, and you have now learned to live differently. 


Neuroplasticity is “the brain’s ability to change itself constantly by creating new neural pathways and losing those which are no longer used."  [1] Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are newer fields with recent discoveries that change how we understand learning.


Emotional Intelligence & How the Brain Works 

The following definitions, compiled from Primal Intelligence[4], give us language to describe precisely what emotional intelligence does...


- Prefrontal cortex – It’s the brain’s executive center and resides behind the forehead. It receives and analyzes information from all parts of the brain and then decides what to do. The right prefrontal area generates distressed emotions and is more pessimistic. The left prefrontal area generates more upbeat, optimistic feelings. When stressed or distressed, emotional impulses from the amygdala run through the prefrontal cortex which can veto emotional impulses. Without that veto, the result would be emotional hijacking, where the amygdala’s impulse is automatically acted upon. 


Emotional intelligence is the ability of the executive center, the prefrontal cortex, to manage emotional impulses from the amygdala and limbic brain before acting upon them. It acts like a faucet valve between the thinking brain and emotional brain, allowing varying amounts of hot and cold to achieve the appropriate temperature. The effectiveness of this valve to regulate flow – the strength of our executive center and our ability to manage emotional responses – comes from practicing emotional intelligence. 


What’s Next?

You have now become practiced at living dreams or getting yourself un-stuck, and it’s time to ride this wave, evaluate how this process is going, whether you’ve ended up where you wanted to, whether you’ve ended up where you REALLY wanted to, and then when it’s time, as you evolve, make new dreams. 


What else would you love to do? 


(I went through three rounds of e9 before I finally admitted that I really wanted to be a coach.) 


Reading List:

1. Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. 2002: Daniel Goleman.


2. On Elizabeth Gould’s research, the most definitive proof that our brains grow: The Reinvention of the Self, Jonah Lehrer, Seed, February-March, 2006.


3. The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans | Daniel Amen | TEDxOrangeCoast, October 16, 2013. https://youtu.be/esPRsT-lmw8 

  


Footnotes:


[1] The Brain That Changes Itself, Norman Doidge, M.D. 2007: Penguin Books. P. 53.


[2] The 4 Underlying Principles of Changing Your Brain, Tara Swart. https://www.forbes.com/sites/taraswart/2018/03/27/the-4-underlying-principles-to-changing-your-brain/#78f813485a71


[3] This is the Only Type of Brain Training that Works, According to Science. Fast Company, 8/21/17. https://www.fastcompany.com/40451692/this-is-the-only-type-of-brain-training-that-works-according-to-science


[4] Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. 2002: Daniel Goleman. 

Long-term in vivo imaging of experience-dependent synaptic plasticity in adult cortex, JT Trachtenberg et al., 2002, Nature, Dec 19-26. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature01273 

The Reinvention of the Self, Jonah Lehrer, Seed, February-March, 2006. 


[5]  Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee. 2002: Daniel Goleman. Chapter 2 and 6. 


[6] Neuroscience: Yes, Brain Training Actually Can Work When Done Correctly

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/10/07/neuroscience-yes-brain-training-actually-can-work-when-done-correctly/#37beb191a2e1


[7] See Lehrer. 

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