French soccer team winning FIFA World Cup 2018

Winning. Insights from Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School

France just won the soccer World Cup.  It happened last 20 years ago.

The World Cup was launched in 1930 and every four years (except during WWII) national soccer teams throughout the world compete for the champion’s prize.  Of the 23 FIFA World Cups held over the years, nine countries experienced the glory of winning.  Only two times did the same country win twice in a row.

Confidence How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End

What makes a winning team?

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, professor at Harvard Business School, researched the question and wrote about it in her book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End.

Moss Kanter’s determines that winning stems from confidence and leaders deliver confidence.  Learn how and apply her insights to your company or organization.

Success is a process.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (RMK): “Failure and success are not episodes, they are trajectories.”

“Success is neither magic nor dumb luck; it stems from a great deal of hard work to perfect each detail.  It is even a little mundane.  Win, go back to work, win again.”

Moss Kanter also describes losing as a process and mindset:  blaming and making excuses.

Food for thought:

What processes do you have in place to learn from winning?

How do you share this knowledge?

Confidence-building is the leader’s job.

RMK: “Confidence underlies the performance of individuals, teams, businesses, schools, economies, and nations.  The fundamental task of leaders is to develop confidence in advance of victory, in order to attract the investments that make victory possible—money, talent, support, loyalty, attention, effort, or people’s best thinking.”

Food for thought:

What three resources does your team need most now?

  • Freedom to take risks and learn from mistakes
  • Consistency in management objectives
  • Trust to manage their own time and priorities
  • Appreciation of a job well done
  • Training to work more effectively as team

Confidence builds on past experiences and reactions to those experiences.

RMK: “But confidence is not an artificial mental construct, solely dependent on what people decide to believe; it reflects reasonable reactions to circumstances.   People are caught in cycles, and they interpret events based on what they see happening, on how they are treated by others around them.”

Moss-Kanter refers to events occurring during the performance AND backstage.  On the field AND in the locker room.  In front of the client AND in the conference room.

Food for thought:

How do your actions “during practice times” contribute to your team’s confidence “in the limelight”?

For example, what are the impact of gossip, ridicule, selective information, and pleasing in your organization?

When and how does your team practice before “big performances”?  Which of these apply to your team

  • Present challenges to the team for co-development
  • Identify worst-case scenarios and brainstorm potential solutions in anticipation
  • Role play critical meetings beforehand

Emotions are contagious.

RMK: “Good moods are both causes and effects.  Winning puts people in a good mood and being in a good mood makes it easier to win.  Positive emotions draw people together and negative emotions tend to push them apart.”

Food for thought:

What emotions do you express or allow at work?  When did you last hear someone (including you) say

  • How proud they are of themselves
  • They are excited to come to work
  • It’s satisfying to learn
  • They enjoy the teamwork
  • They are bored and would like new challenges
  • They feel let down and seek ways to build mutual support

What impact does expressing or suppressing emotions have on your team?

Winners face facts and address problems.

RMK: “It builds confidence in leaders when they name problems that everyone knows are there and put facts on the table for everyone to see.  It also helps other people get over their fear of exposure and humiliation to see leaders providing examples of accepting responsibility.”

“Accountability is the first cornerstone of confidence….Everyone said they knew what the problems were, but those problems were always some else’s fault.”

Food for thought:

Surprisingly, obvious challenges can be hard to pinpoint.  Like the fish who asks, “What is water?”
How can you step back and gain a fresh perspective?

  • Request feedback from a junior member of your team
  • Meet with an independent sparring partner
  • Accept a speaking engagement or an invitation for an interview which challenges you to synthesize strategies and actions

Winners really do work harder.  They track the specifics of their progress.

RMK: “(The CEO) was not looking for drama, he was looking for delivery.  Delivery required attention to details.”

Moss-Kanter spoke of the boring part of winning:  tracking the numbers and being disciplined.  It also helps everyone be on the same page and data reveals what needs to improve right now.

RMK: “Data, details, metrics, measurement, analyses, charts, tests, assessments, performance, evaluations, report cards, grades—these are the tools of accountability, but they are neutral tools.  The do not restore confidence by themselves.  What matters is the culture that surrounds them.  For losers, they are another sign that they are watched too closely, not trusted, about to be punished.  For winners, they are useful, even vital, tools for understanding and improving performance.”

Food for thought:

On a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how relevant are your metrics?  How much do you rely on your KPI’s for decision-making?

What do metrics conjure up in your culture: blame or learning?  What will you do about that?

 

Can there be Winners without Losers?

In the World Cup only one team receives the championship cup.

And yet, no one can categorize Croatia as “Losers” in the 2018.  Their president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic set the example in recognizing great sportsmanship in the competition and in her own team.  She embraced the championship cup holders as warmly as she embraced her own team.  Following suit, the French president Emmanuel Macron also embraced each of the Croatian athletes.

Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
The final whistle blows. Photo from Purepeople
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Victory to all champions. Photo from La Parisienne
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic hugging Mbappe
Such a HUG. Even Mbappe is surprised at her warm congratulations. Photo from La Parisienne.
Emmanuel Macron and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in rain
Celebration rain or shine. Photo from La Parisienne.

The world witnessed a moment of connection as rain-soaked heads of states hugged sweat-soaked athletes, regardless of whether they held the prized cup or not.

Grabar-Kitarovic’s honorable stance at the award ceremony changed the way the French public views the Croatian team.

There is one world cup winner.  AND, there are no loser.  Everyone stands tall after the match.

 

What power-struggle in your life can we transform into a no-lose situation?  Contact me  to implement such a transition.

 

Quotes from Rosabeth Moss Kater are excerpts from her book
Confidence: How Winning Streaks & Losing Streaks Begin & End

Cover photo from Gala

Diversity at work

How Diversity-Friendly are You?

Even though diversity is a much talked about subject, many of us wonder how it impacts our work.  Does it really matter?

This is the third article in a three-part series on diversity inspired by Steven Sels, the CEO of Primagaz.  His first message addresses the bottom-line benefits of integrating 19 different nationalities in his Parisian offices.

Read: 12 Riches of Diversity – Insights from Steven Sels, CEO of Primagaz France

In the second post, Sels broaches the prerequisites to a successful diversity strategy and describes his company’s collegiate decision-making which enables Primagaz to innovate and to act quickly.

Read:  Embracing Differences Without Conflict

As we concluded our interview, Steven Sels thanked me for the opportunity to step back, put a framework around his thoughts on diversity, and challenge himself to explore new ideas.

It’s a gift to step back, put a framework around our thoughts on diversity, and explore ideas further.

How Diversity-Friendly Are YOU?

When did you last step back and clarify your thoughts on diversity? 

Take this SHORT quiz.  I just timed myself; it took 2 minutes and 8 seconds.  Consider it a gift to help you step back and structure your thoughts.

Click here to get answers to the Diversity Quiz.

Anger Management – Transforming Moods like Winter into Spring

Business took me to the Swiss Alps for an early morning meeting, so I chose to travel the night before and mix work with pleasure, decision-making with mountain hiking.

A light snow fell upon my arrival in the evening dampening both my body and my mood.  Anger?  No.  Apprehension?  Yes.

In Paris attire (albeit with walking shoes), I trudged one half hour through the wintry wet to settle in for the night.  My plan:  early to bed and early to rise.  Hike three hours from my mountain village to the town in the valley in time for our 10:30 meeting.

Winter outside.  Without Anger Management, winter lurks inside the soul too.

Winter magic clothed the trees in the morning.  Gentle flakes transformed these grey giants into lace.  Grey lace.  The sun had yet to shine of these latent beauties…only to destroy their flaky glory.

Snow on trees
Grey lace of snow dusted trees in early morning light.
Smoke from the chimney
Still cuddling by the fire…at breakfast time! Someone got up EARLY.

Camera poised I set out to capture their beauty…and slid on the thin layer of black ice that paved the road.   Immediately my focus was brought low, literally to the ground.  From high and wondrous thoughts to fear and frustration…and annoyance multiplied over the loss of my moment of magic.

Isn’t that the same with our moods?

We can be flying high with soaring spirits and CRASH down to earth…or worse.  Anger management, where are thou?!

How Sweet is Home?!

My kids’ behavior can do that to me.  I think “Home Sweet Home” only to discover “Jungle Wild Jungle.”  Strewn shoes, coats, and backpacks block my way to the front hall closet so that I no longer feel welcomed home.  Next the sound of video games accost my ears…on a weekday when the children are supposed to be reading, writing, and “arithmetizing.”  You probably get the picture.

Great mood.  Yucky temper.  In one second.  Anger management, HELP!

[bctt tweet=”Great mood.  Yucky temper.  In one second.  Anger management, HELP!“]

The Neuroscience of Anger Management

Neuroscience reveals that our brains are incapable of reasoning during moments of high stress.  We’re stuck in emotional responses, subservient to fight or flight.  It’s like the connections between our logic and our feelings has been interrupted.  In order to find solutions, be creative, and even understand the folk speaking to us, we need to reconnect the upper and lower spheres of our brain (the cortex and pre-fontal cortex).

Anger management is a physical phenomenon whereby broken communication pathways rejoin.  By calming down, a person allows this uniting process to reoccur in our brains.  (FYI, full upper and lower sphere connectivity in the brain is capable as of 25 years of age.  Kids and youth can nonetheless get close.)

Dr. Jane Nelsen, in her book on Positive Discipline, refers this reintegration moment as a “Positive Time Out.”  I cherish the name given by parents in one of my Positive Discipline classes: “I want my Cozy Corner.”

Anger Management in Action…
Literally Walking into It 🙂

My hike down the mountain led me to Cozy Corners of my soul.  Reconnecting my rational thinking with my disappointments of today (they’re not that huge, after all) and my hopes for tomorrow (they’re totally attainable still!!).  Bye-bye vexation.  Hello expectancy.

First I noticed the sun tinge the tips of the snow-frosted trees.  Light and warmth will soon melt the ice below my feet.  They will also melt the glaze on the trees.  Tough moments also hold their magic.  The glass is also half full.

Snow on trees
Tree tips reaching for the light. A ray of hope…
Snow on trees like lace
The sun did come out tomorrow. Bye-bye ice…and farewell lovely lacy trees.
Winter into Spring
The Dividing Line : Winter into Spring & Early morning into Daytime

Even anger holds its treasures.  Consider frustration as a sign that something should change.  Fury may even fill us with the energy to explore an alternative behavior.

Managed Anger Makes Room for Positive Emotions

My enthusiasm grew with the anticipation of a fear-less walk.  So did my patience.  Like Annie in the musical, I could bet my bottom dollar that the sun would come out…even sooner than tomorrow.

Hope heralds forbearance, a valuable resource for every parent and child.  Is “now” always the best time?   Think of when you last called the children to eat dinner.  NOW!  Remember when your precious one wanted admiration…while you were on the phone.  NOT NOW!

With every step down the mountain, Spring grew and grew.  Trees lost their white hue and adopted a green undertone until I reached places where plants paved the soil and petite bright green leaves fluttered above.  The ground burst with lilies of the valley about to bloom.  “Do they grow better in mountains?” I mused…

By now the sun poured through the branches and colorful flowers cheered my route.

Dents du Midi in Spring
Spring budding in the Alps
Carpet of lilies
Do lilies of the valley blossom earlier in the mountains?
Tulips in vegetable garden
Tulips and veggies. The good garden.
Dents du Midi in spring
Spring blooming in the Alps…and you & me bursting with anticipation & joy?! It’s my hope 🙂

Again, my thoughts soared to hopes and beauty and wonder.  This time with additional thankfulness that I had passed through the icy uncertainty so that I could fully embrace the benefits of Now.

Anger Management Tips for Today & Every Day

“Apply this to your life,” thought I.

You too?

Here is what my winter-to-spring walk showed me about anger management:

  • It is O.K. to be frustrated. Annoyance is a sign that something should change.
  • Glum spirits hardly enable change to happen smoothly or effectively.
  • Calm down before seeking resolution to a problem. The perspective will be TOTALLY DIFFERENT and opportunities will be found.
  • A great way to calm down is to think of or do something that brings joy.
  • Challenge may not be enjoyable. Having overcome one does feel awesome!

P.S. On the train ride home, I regaled in the fluorescent yellow fields of “colza” (rapeseed for high in omega 3 oils!)

Colza or Rapeseed
Cool Colza !