Byron's Babbles

Global Sense Of Worth

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 29, 2021

I am an eager student of Edgar H. Schein and am reading his book, Humble Consulting: How To Provide Real Help Faster, right now. Something I just read really stuck out to me, “Treat each other as persons instead of their roles.” This is about “doing” not “espousing” (too many leaders think that doing the right thing applies to everyone, but them). Truly respecting is having admiration and esteem for others, and dignity is the belief that all humans have inherent worth and deserve basic rights and equitable treatment.

Everyone has potential and should be inherently valued regardless of title, status, or situation. This is really a global sense of worth. As humans, we are multifaceted and cannot be fit into the box that many would like to crop us into. I believe we need to have everyone showing us their potential and worth by putting it all out there like the inflatable “air dancers.” These powerful advertising tools get our attention by their free uninhibited motion. That motions causes distraction and we pay attention. We need to be watching for the potential and value in others and pay attention.

What Will Your Culture Allow?

Posted in Community, Culture, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 27, 2021

It has been said that an organization can only do what their culture will allow. The culture, or community, as I like to call it, of an organization sets expectations for how people behave and work together, and how well they function as a team. Therefore, the culture developed can break down the boundaries between siloed teams, guide decision-making, and improve workflow overall. Conversely, a toxic organizational culture has the capacity to do just the opposite. A healthy organizational culture brings people together and keeps them aligned. When the culture is clear, different perspectives can gather behind it with common purpose.

The culture of an organization sets expectations for how people act, behave, and work together. Culture determines how well we will function as a team. Make no mistake, culture and community are created through consistent and authentic behaviors, not press releases, policy documents, or rhetoric not backed by action. A healthy culture is a group phenomenon. A healthy culture is developed during critical events during the life and learning of a team. The best leaders I’ve been associated with were very aware of the culture that operated and defined the organization’s community.

Life Is Artistic Expression

This week, Chapter 35, “Edit Your Life” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) had everything needed to grab my attention. The chapter had metaphors, talked about creativity and imagination, referred to Albert Einstein, and compared our lives to artistic masterpieces. I believe this chapter resonated so much with me because I use the metaphor all the time of our lives being portraits that are never completed. Every day adds brush strokes, but we are never done. My hope and prayer is that I add brush stokes to my life’s portrait on the day I die. But, it still won’t be complete because I hope there is a legacy that continues to influence. DTK reminded us that we show up to work with our creativity and imaginations. Why don’t apply these to who we are and how we show up in the world? Our lives are our own to define and explore. Why not be imaginative with the masterpiece that is “you”?

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece, after all.”

Nathan Morris

DTK said, “I’m inspired by the idea of living a created life, a life that I chose to edit frequently and ruthlessly. I probably replace “edit” with “iterate” as I reflect on this. Edit makes me think big change and iterate makes me think about small brush strokes I’ve watched artists make that changed the entire painting. While I know some of us need big edits, iterating may be less overwhelming.

And, we haven’t even begun to think about how we have to “adapt” during our life. Think about all the adaptation strokes of the brush you’ve made to your life’s portrait in the last year, plus. A portrait is a hand crafted piece of art. We, too, are hand crafted pieces of art. Let’s all consider life as another form of artistic expression and fall in love with the possibilities.

Good Leadership Is Pragmatic

Last week I was doing leadership development facilitation for our participants from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. This session involved developing a top 5 list of Bad Leader traits and a top 5 list of Good Leader traits. While we were voting and tallying to get to their top 5s, I thought about how the traits are really pragmatic. Take a look at their voting tallies and their top 5s:

The opposite of idealistic is pragmatic, a word that describes a philosophy of “doing what works best.” From Greek pragma “deed,” the word has historically described philosophers and politicians who were concerned more with real-world application of ideas than with abstract notions. Did you catch that? Doing what works best. Being concerned with real-world application. Look at the Good Leader traits above and I think you’ll agree they involve doing what works best.

Living Every Day Like It Is Someday

Posted in Dreams, Educational Leadership, Global Education, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 23, 2021

Yesterday evening after the last person had logged off from a very fun and engaging leadership development I facilitated, I sat down to decompress and flipped on the television. I landed on B Positive and the scene was Drew (Thomas Middleditch) on a date and they were asking each other what they would do right now if it was someday. In other words, if you could do anything today that you have put off till someday, what would you do? Wow, what a question. I really pondered on this. What would your answer be?

We need to believe in our dreams and take action. Also, it is important to surround ourselves with beauty, with the life we aspire to have, the people we care about, the places you want to visit, and not put off the things we want to do someday. We should refuse to live in fear, refuse to not feel love, to not show tolerance, and to not help people in need. I refuse not to give and refuse to be someone other than the person I am. Let’s all work to make our dreams come true, no matter how simple they are. Live every day like it is someday.

Being The Hero Inside You

Posted in DTK, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays, Superhero by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 22, 2021

Our lives are such a dynamic experience. Sometimes we may feel like life is static and fixed, and other times we are moving and shaking. But, upon further analysis we are actually in a state of perpetual flux. I was reminded of this in Chapter 34, “Beyond The ‘Blah-teau’” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). Expansion and contraction is the metaphor that comes to mind here. DTK said, “To genuinely expand what we are capable of doing, we must also expand our being” (p. 245). Back to my metaphor. When something expands it would be more spacious and able to fill up the world with its biggest and best version. On the other hand, our contracted version becomes tighter and collapses and shrinks. Thus reducing capacity.

As part of the constantly expanding universe, we too are constantly being called to expand. DTK observed, “This includes recognizing our current capacity and consciously stretching it to make room for what’s next, and for who we are becoming next” (p. 245). We must know who we are to know what we want to create in the world. DTK made reference to superheroes saying, “Dropping the superhero cape and BEING the hero inside” (p. 247). I loved that because this week and last I have been doing a leadership development session using superheroes as a through line. Just like superheroes, we all have great powers, but are also vulnerable and have doubts. We must channel who we really are and our own personal superpowers to expand and evolve to make the great impact we we put on this world to create.

Minding Our Imagery

Posted in DTK, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 21, 2021

“What and how we think shapes reality and shapes our future – no crystal ball necessary.” I love this in Chapter 33, “Mind Your Thoughts,” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). “No philosophy,” William James argued, “can ever be anything but a summary sketch, a picture of the world in abridgment, a foreshortened bird’s-eye view of the perspective of events.” So it goes also with our thoughts. Our thoughts can only ever be rough drafts of what we’re perceiving, terse outlines of an unfathomably huge cosmos. But, change cannot occur without these rough drafts (thoughts) happening. If there is no imagery, then there can be no action.

Our thoughts compel us to move, to realign, to refocus and evolve. The links between the function of thought and the habits of behavior, actions, and results are our identity, beliefs, and feelings. With them we can imagine new imaginings; we can capitalize upon our identity to guide our thoughts by rearranging them into novel constructs that create new worlds for new creating.

Our thoughts become our reality. Our thoughts, affect our perception and therefore, our interpretation of reality. We need to make sure we get back to our true identity to shape our beliefs and feelings and ultimately have our thoughts be the actions we want to create in the world.

Avoiding The Cul-De-Sac Of Regret

Posted in Heart, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 10, 2021

The heart is the perfect metaphorical keeper of all our feelings and emotions, the heart drives us forward. It is the perfect construct of muscles which never stop. A sentence in the great novel FAULTLAND by Suzy Vitello which had culminated from all that Sherman and Wanda had been through in the aftermath of a Portland, Oregon earthquake – the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history, really jumped out at me. The comment was, “Sherman wants to pull her in. To feel her sadness meet his sadness. Two people grieving and yet somehow marveling at humanity’s breadth, the capacity of a heart.” Our hearts have great depth and breadth for flexing to the greatest spikes of joy to the lowest depths of grief, and then back.

These extreme ranges of joy and pains are what it means to human. And, as is pointed out in FAULTLAND we should marvel at the capacity of our hearts. I’m reminded of the line in the song “Heart” in the Broadway musical Damn Yankees, “You gotta have heart. All you really need is heart. When the odds are saying you’ll never win, that’s when the grin should start.” There are actually some parallels between the book and the musical. Choices are made, paths taken, things done, and regrets of things undone. But then there are the times when we dig deep for humanity and find the true capacity of our hearts.

A great metaphor that Vitello introduced in the book is “a cul-de-sac of regret.” Vitello writes, “…he [Sherman] lets his mind wander, and as usual, it finds a cul-de-sac of regret. His one true sadness-he never parlayed his passion for science into anything substantial.” A cul-de-sac is a dead end in a neighborhood that leads nowhere. A perfect metaphor because regrets really are dead ends. I’ll ask you and myself the same question Christopher asked Morgan in FAULTLAND, “What adventures do you feel you’ve put on hold?”

WAIT and Listen

This week in Chapter 32, “Listening Is Love,” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) I was reminded of two very influential books I have read this year. I wrote these notes down while reading the second revised and expanded edition of Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art Of Asking Instead Of Telling by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein:

  • We get opinionated distortions
  • We value telling over listening
  • We may need to know what others know in order to solve our own problems
  • We need to access our ignorance

Additionally I was reminded of some notes I took while reading the sixth edition of the great book by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans Love ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em. Here are a few of the many things I wrote down:

  • Ask so you don’t have to guess
  • Let your people mentor you
  • Think “what if” before you think “no”

As you can see, these two books were impactful to my own development on this topic of loving others through listening. I love (pun intended) that Kaye and Jordan-Evans taught us that loving those we work with is the correct terminology. If we want to relate with others, as DTK relates, we need to form our relationships empathically, not transactionally. Here are some of my blog posts that were inspired by these books:

DTK said, “In coaching, our job is to put all of our attention over there (on the other person) and dance with what arises, instead of pre-planning any response or follow up” (p. 236). It was also discussed in this chapter that we need to put a focus on what we want for other individuals instead of from them. To do this we must really show our love by listening. A great tool DTK introduced was WAIT – Why Am I Talking? Many times, instead of deeply listening we start thinking about what we can ask or what we know. We start telling instead of listening. So, I love this tool of asking ourselves “Why am I talking?” In the book Working, Robert Caro discussed that when doing research interviews for his biographies, he writes “Shut Up!” in his notes to remind himself he is there to listen and not do all the talking and asking. We all need to continue to hone our skills. If you’re like me, you have gone to meetings and know that you and others won’t talk much because __________ McTalksalot (yes, I actually have nicknames for some of these people) will do all the talking. Let’s show our love by listening.

Are you showing your love for those you serve by truly hearing them?