Geometric Globe

Method3 and Pathways Group, today announced the formal launch of Geometric RPO. Geometric RPO is a global partnership between several major RPO providers who each deliver a brand-led approach to RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing / Optimization) to enhance the candidate experience and drive quality hiring.

A sense of purpose is vital to the success of any business. It allows you to stand out from the pack. It gives you direction through even the stormiest of weather. It creates a consistent culture for people to work in.

But to see these benefits you have to communicate that purpose. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than a hollow statement of intent, or at best something shared by the people at the top of the business.

Who to Reach

Whether it’s inspiring design, fast travel or just providing a smooth administrative service, the purpose of your business needs to be communicated to two distinct groups of people – your employees and your potential customers.

For employees, understanding that sense of purpose gives motivation and focus to their work. As your business becomes more complex, as rules and procedures gain a life of their own, it’s important to be able to cut through the complexities from time to time, to point at your core purpose and ask ‘are we serving that need?’

Communicating purpose to potential customers is about selling your services or products to them as individuals. Mass advertising is a dying beast. To draw in modern customers you need to reach out not with generalities but with something specific, something that directly interests the right people.

Selecting Your Audience

When it comes to employees, you know who you’re communicating your purpose to, and that’s everyone. Every single employee in your company needs to understand your purpose. If your purpose is sound but it’s one they can’t get behind then that’s a recruitment problem, not a communication one. So communicate your purpose to everyone.

For potential customers this is more complicated, but fortunately modern marketing has the answers.

Start by narrowing down who you’re interested in. Look at the data around your market. If your purpose is to provide the latest clothing trends as quickly as possible then you want to communicate that to millennials, as millennial men spend twice as much on clothing as their predecessors, while millennial women buy a third more clothing than those who came before. On the other hand, if your aim is high quality clothes that last then you want to reach a different market.

Narrow your focus as much as you can. Don’t look for the biggest audience, but for the one most interested in your purpose – that’s how you’ll make the most impact.

Communicating Clearly

No matter how grand your purpose, no matter how carefully chosen your audience, your purpose won’t be understood unless you communicate it clearly.

Communication is arguably the most important skillin the world today. The rise and rise of public relations firms, advertising agencies and communication courses proves that. The greatest innovation of our age, the Internet, exists to communicate more quickly and efficiently.

Cutting through the jargon is central to good communication. You understand the language of your sector in a way that your customers may not. You understand the language of management and business in a way your employees don’t. You need to get your purpose across in ways these groups will understand.

So spend the time and money to improve communication skills across your organization, and to ensure that your communications are expressed in terms suitable for your chosen audience. You need to be clear and appropriate in your choices, reaching millennials in the language of millennials, business leaders in the language of business leaders.

For your purpose to have meaning it needs to reach people, both inside and outside your business. That means finding the right people to approach, and the right language to approach them in. Only then will your purpose spread and come to life.

The Spark

Demanding the impossible                       

“Be a realist, demand the impossible.” Protest graffiti, Paris, May 1968

It is all too easy to accept others’ definitions of achievement. To get caught up in other people’s aims and ambitions. To take others’ priorities as read.

This is the road to disaster. To throwing all your energy into goals you don’t really care about, growing tired and disillusioned, working with less and less energy at something you don’t love. If you’ve ever spent your days watching the clock, wishing the hours away until you can go home, then you know that feeling.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Learning from others, not imitating them

In the spring of 1968 France was thrown into turmoil. Not content to accept the aims given them by politicians and old-fashioned business leaders, students and workers rose in protest. They could see a different future for themselves and their country, and the demands they made, freedoms considered unthinkable by the establishment, transformed the country and led to the downfall of the government.

The world can change.

Steve Jobs built Apple on technologies and practices that were unimaginable to his competitors. The idea that our personal and working futures lay with computers. That we could carry our music collection in our pocket. That the most sophisticated technology in the world could be designed around the principle of simplicity. He created his own sense of achievement and succeeded on his terms.

Business can change.

Every small business owner, every entrepreneur, every consultant and free-lancer you’ve ever talked with started out working for someone else. Then they worked out what they wanted for themselves and they set out to do it.

You can change.

Finding your own aim

Choosing your own goal and working towards it is hard work, but it is infinitely more satisfying than the alternative. Happiness comes from meeting goals we find fulfilling, and you’ll never do that while they aren’t your own goals.

Look at what you value, what really matters to you. Whatever it is, there’s a job to be found or to be created in that field.

Rising to the challenge

Many of us struggle to define what we want to achieve. In that case look at the things that are wrong around you. The places in business, in politics, in your community where the right goals just aren’t being achieved. Look at those places and ask yourself what people are treating as valuable, what they are treating as success. Then ask what you think success should look like, what would be of real value in that area, and work towards it. You’ll have found an achievement that you really value.

Don’t shy away from the difficult challenges. The greatest, most fulfilling successes come from taking the path less followed, from finding things that challenge you and solving them. Satisfaction comes not from accepting our limits but from pushing them.

But always remember, work towards the things that you care about, even when others say that they are impossible. Maybe they are impossible within their world view, but yours is broader. You can see the change you want to be. You can make it happen.

Define your own success.

Demand the impossible.

Master the Most Powerful Leadership Habit You Didn’t Know You Had

What was the latest habit you adopted? Was it reading every day for at least one hour? Quitting coffee forever? It’s simple to keep track of these types of routines. Let’s call them action habits. You start one day and if you are still doing it months later without thinking about it, you got yourself a new action habit.

But underneath this productivity, all of us have emotional habits that determine how we approach life’s situations. Whether it’s a positive situation, like landing a big client, or a negative one, like losing a big client, our emotional habits influence how we perceive the situation.

In the words of Kimerer L. LaMothe, Ph.D., people “develop a habit of responding to whatever happens to them from the same emotional place.” So our emotional responses can become habits just as our actions can. She goes on to say that “there are three primary emotions—fear, grief, and anger. But over time people come to rely on one emotional color as their baseline response to new information. So there are people who are fear-based, grief-based, or anger-based.”

In other words, it’s no longer about what happens to us, but how we are used to reacting about what happens to us.

The Nature of Habits – A Quick Recap

We all read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and get it. We won’t go into the details, but let’s focus on the habit loop: cue, routine, and reward.

The more this loop repeats on a certain behavior or situation, the habit will get stronger as our brain adapts and creates a neural pathway to lock that habit in our normal behavior. This is how things become second nature. But none of this can happen unless there is a reward at the end of the loop.

So going back to Dr. Lamothe’s emotional responses—anger, fear and sadness—you might wonder how being angry, afraid or sad can be a reward that strengthens an emotional habit. The answer is simple. The reward isn’t in the emotion, but in the decision that came from the emotion. Here’s how that works:

Deciding In Fear

The reward of fear is security. By making decisions from a place of fear you avoid risks and gain a sense of security. So you might let that opportunity go because it posed a risk. Or you might decide not to push for that big ad campaign. The point isn’t whether you made the right decision or not. It’s the fact that deciding from fear gave you a sense of security. And that is a reward that reinforces the emotional habit of fear. There are people in your company that love feeling safe at the expense of being stuck. But your leadership can push your team forward.

Deciding in Anger

The reward of anger is control. It doesn’t mean you make decisions while upset. But angry decisions are aggressive and look to regain control of whatever went wrong. That is why managers snap at their employees or take over a department instead of trusting their team when things aren’t going well. There are people in your company that deeply resent being controlled, and others who feel more comfortable being controlled. Neither side of the coin is healthy. You want people to have the freedom to create a better place to work and ultimately a company that grows.

Deciding in Sadness

The reward of sadness is self-righteousness. This is the culture of pessimism and justification. When things go wrong, this habit will find ways to make excuses. The market is too saturated, the competition didn’t play fair, somebody screwed up, life is unfair. If you find a good reason to justify that obstacle, you will validate your misfortune. There are people in your company who prefer excuses over ownership. Your leadership can develop people who step up no matter the circumstances.

Better Emotional Habits

Businesses can thrive despite the most adverse circumstances. It’s possible that as you read this you thought “maybe this sounds like me, but it’s worked for me so far.” But what if these emotional habits are what’s stopping you and your company from the next big step. A better work culture starts with the small decisions, especially the ones taken in stressful situations.

Put simply, could it be that the reason why you react the way you do in stressful situations is just how you’re used to reacting? If so, it’s great news. Because you are no longer dealing with a lack of skill or a character issue. It’s only a habit. And habits can be transformed.

Develop Self-Awareness

Emotional habits speak in the form of thoughts. So being aware of your thoughts is a skill you need to master through your lifetime. This may sound mystical, but the most direct way to become aware of your thoughts is to think of yourself as someone else hearing yourself. But beware, not all your thoughts are true.

Awareness Leads to Better Leadership

Just because you have a thought it doesn’t mean it’s true. As we’ve seen, your thoughts are conditioned by habits, and some habits are harmful. So how do you know if you’re lying to yourself? You have to get used to asking yourself some questions.

Is this emotion proportional to the situation? Does this person I’m dealing with warrant this kind of reaction? Am I the kind of person who would react this way? Even better, when you think of the leader you are becoming, is this the kind of reaction you want to have?

As leaders, our success at work, at home and our personal life will be determined by how we manage our reactions to adversity. You can be the king of time and energy optimization but actions will only take you so far. In fact, focusing only on productivity can have negative consequences like, you guessed it, anxiety and fear.

Life Tree-More Human

Making your business more human

The human side of business is perhaps its most fragile element. That glimmer of personality and real consideration that makes us stand out as more than just products and processes is far too easily lost in the rush to make those products and processes better.

But making business more human is incredibly valuable, both in making work more enjoyable for you and your employees and in building relationships with customers. So how can we make a business more human?

Acknowledge the presence of people

Many of our products and decisions are made deliberately anonymous. The people crafting reports don’t sign their names to them, either because they will be officially signed off by a higher manager or because people fear taking responsibility for something that could go wrong. Decisions and products are presented to customers in abstract terms – ‘we made this’, ‘we have decided’, ‘the company has created…’

Of course this de-humanizes a business, because it fails to acknowledge that there are people creating these things. It can protect them from blame, but it also means that they never get the praise or acknowledgement they deserve, and that customers feel as if they are dealing with a faceless institution.

Let people’s names be associated with their work, like an artist signing their paintings. Many successful marketing campaigns are based on tying a personality to a product, so why not use the personalities you already have?

Take risks

Taking small risks can make a huge difference to the way people respond to us. They show courage, and they show humanity. They demonstrate a very human willingness to follow our instincts rather than the herd, to put ourselves out for others.

So don’t hide behind the shield of anonymity but take some risks. Create quirky products that fit the ethos and aesthetic of your company. Send the statistics expert to make the big presentation, instead of the senior manager he was going to brief. Acknowledge failures and set out how you will tackle them, even when you don’t have to admit that something went wrong.

Taking risks shows that you and your company have personality; they make you vulnerable if only for a moment, and they let people feel a sense of connection from the times when they too have been vulnerable. They are a great way to humanize a business, and to get past the stumbling blocks of unoriginal thinking.

Resist dehumanizing pressures

When peer pressure is applied to teenagers we consider it a bad thing, and we encourage them to resist. Yet when it affects businesses we treat it as just part of the market.

So many stores have given way to the pressure to make staff work at Thanksgiving that it becomes worthy of note when businesses don’t. But giving way to such a pressure dehumanizes your business, makes you look like you don’t care about your staff, about their feelings, about their leisure time and their families. The stores that resist this pressure lose out on some sales on the holiday weekend, but they make themselves more appealing to customers for the time when they’re open, the whole of the rest of the year. And by letting staff’s humanity override commercial concerns they create happier staff who will put in the extra effort when they are working.

So resist the pressure to ignore the humanity of your workforce. Take risks that reflect human concerns and that let customers see a vulnerable, considerate side. Acknowledge the presence of real people creating real products. It will make your business more human, show that it’s more human, and ultimately create better results.

Sun on horizon

As a society, we aren’t good at dealing with emotion in a business context. We tend to view the office as a place to remain calm and rational, and to suppress or exclude our feelings there.

But if we don’t at least acknowledge our emotions then we exclude a part of ourselves. This means we miss the opportunity to tap into a great source of drive and motivation.

Part of Your Body and Brain

When we work, we’re using the complex and interconnected system of our bodies and brains. Emotions aren’t some abstract thing detached from physical reality; they’re an important part of how we function as biological beings.

Some examples of the neuroscience behind emotions can help us to understand why they’re so important in the workplace.

The sense of satisfaction we feel at completing a task is caused by a release of dopamine. Do well, and your brain rewards you with that chemical kick.

On the other side, clinical depression is connected to a shortage of dopamine as well as two other neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. Not dealing with negative emotions can do long term damage to the brain, all but killing its supply of these vital chemicals. In its milder forms this can undercut someone’s motivation. In more extreme forms it can make it impossible for them to work.

Trying to set aside emotions clearly won’t help – they are too deeply connected to the chemical workings of our motivations. So what can we do instead?

Mastering Yourself, Not Just Your Emotions

In their 1994 book The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, a group of writers led by Peter Senge sought to address this important issue. In doing so, they took a new approach to the old idea of mastering your emotions.

When we talk about mastering our emotions we often mean controlling them and keeping them in check. But for Senge et al mastery had a different meaning. We should acknowledge, explore and understand our emotions. We should take quiet time to see how we are feeling, not rush on by and leave them to ambush as later. When addressing a situation, we should be considering not just our thoughts on it, but our feelings.

Personal mastery then becomes not about controlling your feelings, but working with them. It stops being about fighting against your own biochemistry. Instead you recognize the signals your body’s sending out and learning to make use of them. If you recognize that an idea makes you uncomfortable, but you can’t see a rational reason why, then your emotions have probably spotted something you missed. Explore the feeling, delve deeper, and you may find a problem and its solution that you would otherwise have missed.

Real Motivation

Senge at al’s conception of personal mastery also gets into the deep waters of motivation. Many attempts to motivate employees rely on money, recognition or fear of failure. This vision of personal mastery is about focusing on work as rewarding in itself.

It’s an approach that makes total sense once we consider the biochemistry behind rewards. The dopamine rush we get from successfully completing a task becomes weaker each time, unless the reward becomes greater. Employees made satisfied by external rewards will have to be given more money and praise each time to keep them engaged. Those motivated by the satisfaction of the work will want more challenging tasks and greater achievements. The former takes resources out of the business, while the latter brings it closer to achieving its goals.

Twenty years on, The Fifth Discipline Handbook still contains valuable lessons. When combined with our growing understanding of neuroscience, it can and should transform the way we approach emotions, letting us use them in the workplace rather than repressing them.

Change - painting apple

The recent outcry over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and its potential use to discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has caused a storm that has drawn businesses into a controversial legal and ethical discussion. It has shown that businesses of any size can act in a socially responsible way, and that doing so, far from harming the bottom line, can do great things for a brand.

Stepping Into the Gap

It would be hard to identify two more successful and widely recognized brands than Gap and Levi Strauss & Co. When it comes to social responsibility, they have until recently taken quite different paths. Gap has been outspoken on issues such as equal pay, while Levi Strauss has largely avoided the spotlight of social activism.

Not any more. Following the enactment of the RFRA, leaders of the two clothing giants came together to condemn the law as ‘legalized discrimination’. They attacked the law, while making clear that their businesses were friendly toward the LGBT community.

In an America increasingly polarized between conservative and liberal movements, this might seem like a damaging step for a company’s bottom line, and it shows great responsibility for a large company to step up and make its voice heard.

Businesses of All Sizes

More courageous, and arguably more important, is the stance taken by small businesses in Indiana. Many of them quickly signed up to a group called Open for Service, in which businesses openly state their support for and openness to the LGBT community. The organization went international, attracting over 2,000 members within a few weeks. With stickers in shop windows, a directory of registered businesses and a fund for future social business ventures, it showed that small businesses could make their voice heard, especially by banding together.

This was a much bigger risk for small Indiana businesses, who could have lost income from customers who supported the RFRA. But it raised their profile and brought a statement of inclusiveness into a divided community. It also ensured custom from the movement’s many supporters, just as Gap and Levi Strauss’s stance bought them more loyalty from LGBT customers.

Passionate Purpose

The RFRA remains a controversial issue. Supporters of the act might argue that they are the ones acting out of a sense of social responsibility, protecting religious freedoms based on the values they support. And this brings us to the heart of real social responsibility – acting on a passionate purpose.

Whatever you believe socially responsible behavior looks like, it touches on what is important to you. By stirring the emotions it can draw criticism, but it also galvanizes support. It gives people more reason to care about your business one way or another. Indifference can kill a business just as surely as hatred. Accepting that you will be criticized, and in return making your staff and customers care, will add real energy to your work.

87% of consumers consider a company’s social responsibility to be important. That’s a lot of customers to reach out to.

Using Your Power

We all have the power to make a difference, whether we’re running a huge corporation or starting up a small business. The RFRA, far from showing the danger of businesses taking a social stance, has reminded us that anyone can make a difference in the world. It has been a reminder that being socially responsible, taking a stance and sticking to it, can do a business far more good than harm. And as Indiana Governor Mike Pence rushed to alter the RFRA, it has shown us how much impact that purpose can have.

Being socially responsible makes us better people, and it makes our organizations into better businesses.

How much difference did you make today? If you were to step back and look at that work, would you feel like you added real value to the world, or just kept things ticking over?

It’s easy to slip into doing the same old thing with your work; to take the safe options rather than rise to the challenge; to follow the aims set out for you by others.

Easy but not satisfying, and not the best that you could do for you or for the world around you.

Rising to the challenge

If you want to make a difference then you need to rise to the challenge, and the first step is identifying a challenge that’s worthwhile.

Look for a problem in the world around you, an absence or a failing, something that doesn’t just make you think but that makes you feel like there is a need for change. Tesla Motors have done this with their bold dedication to producing electric cars. They’ve identified a need for more environmentally friendly cars that are enjoyable to drive. They’ve risen to that challenge, driving down the cost of eco conscious living in the face of some huge difficulties.

Part of finding your challenge lies in recognizing that business does not exist in a vacuum. It is linked to wider social and environmental issues, and if we don’t support our world and society then it won’t support business. Find a purpose, a way for your business to have an impact, and set that as your goal.

Asking why

This is about more than just leaping to the first, most obvious solution. Look deeply at the problem you’ve seen, whether it’s litter on the streets, an educational shortfall or any of the hundreds of other causes that fire people’s passions. Take a tip from the Toyota Production System and ask why things are the way they are, asking again and again until you get to the root of the problem.

Then look at the solutions on offer and ask why they don’t work. Even chimps can look at the behavior of others around them and spot the flaws, finding a better way through. There’s no excuse for us not to.

If you already have an established business and are looking to transform it then ask what harm social and environmental damage are doing to your business, and how you could do something to solve this. Show your employees and shareholders how the solution helps them.

Believe in yourself, believe in better

Staying focused is vital to success. That’s as true in keeping to your purpose as it is in juggling your daily tasks. There will be times when the obstacles seem insurmountable, when flashy distractions and easy options might lure you away from your purpose. But if you believe in yourself, if you believe in your cause and your ability to make a change, then you can overcome anything.

Look again at Tesla Motors. Following the financial crisis the motor industry was in disarray. Even General Motors was filing for bankruptcy, and against this backdrop it was all but impossible to find funding for a relatively unknown car firm, especially one with such a radical and risky focus. But Tesla stuck with it, they found their funding, and they have gone on to provide real innovation in the industry. By the first quarter of 2013 they were posting profits for the first time in their history.

If you have a purpose that people value then they will come round to your cause. If you have a purpose that you value then you will be able to stick with it, even when the going gets tough.

Find your purpose. Live your impact. Make a difference, for you and for the world.

Accountability is important to any enterprise. If no-one is held responsible, then there’s no way of judging success and failure. But it means different things to different people, and if misused can lead to chaos and stress. So how can you get accountability right?

Understand Why Accountability Matters

To do anything right, you first need to be aware of why you are doing it.

Accountability matters because without it no-one can be held responsible for what they do. It’s a way of recognizing and encouraging successes, and of identifying and tackling failures. It’s important that there’s accountability within the business, but also that the business is held accountable. And of course it is important that you act upon it.

Limiting the Negative

Accountability easily becomes associated with the negative. After all, people avoid being held accountable when things have gone wrong. But one of the major causes of this imbalance toward the negative is also a reason why it is dangerous.

Negativity bias is a psychological phenomenon that leads to negative events having a larger impact on humans than the positive. Without a concerted effort to look on the bright side of events, the darker ones will become our center of emotional gravity. While it’s a particular problem for depressives, it’s also a factor in the psychology of perfectly healthy people.

In accountability, negativity bias means that we are more likely to pay attention to and express the things that others have done wrong, and that on hearing our feedback the negative parts will affect them disproportionately and stick longer in the memory.

It is important not to ignore when things go wrong. But to prevent negativity bias taking over, it’s also important to make an effort to express positives at the same time, and to look at the opportunity for improvement rather than focusing solely on negative impacts.

Limiting Who Holds You Accountable

Another delicate balance comes in judging whose views to listen to in holding yourself, your employees or your company accountable. Judging how to respond to shifting public opinion is always difficult for a company. You need to be accountable to your customers and shareholders, but they won’t always know what’s in the best interests of the company.

Here the key is to consider where those people are coming from – not just their self-interest, but their knowledge base. Shareholders may understand market fluctuations but not the desires of your customers. The board member who is well equipped to judge financial performance may not be knowledgeable in the psychology of leadership, however strongly he expresses opinions on the subject.

Make sure that you are held most accountable by the best informed people, not the ones whom shout the loudest.

Asking Why

Acting on results is a vital part of accountability, but make sure to set limits around your responses. Whether you’re seeking to fix a problem or to replicate a success, don’t act until you’ve understood why you got the results you did. Otherwise you could easily end up fixing the wrong problem, or replicating something that didn’t bring success.

One of the simplest tools in the lean manufacturing toolbox can usefully be applied here – the five whys. Ask why you got the results you did. Then ask why again, this time about the answer to the first question. Keep asking why until you get to the root cause and know what really helped or hindered you.

Accountability is not about kneejerk reactions. It is about recognizing successes and failures and responding appropriately. Setting limits on that – around negativity, who you listen to and how you act – is as vital as being held accountable in the first place.

 

Originally appeared on Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/3052480/know-it-all/four-ways-youre-getting-accountability-wrong

Many leaders don’t really lead. They follow the paths of other businesses rather than setting their own course, or shift indecisively with circumstances. They are little more than over paid followers.

So how can we avoid falling into that trap?

Leading Instead of Managing

Even comparing ourselves with others can create dangers. The spread of benchmarking from Total Quality Management has led to an obsession with matching the performance and working styles of others, an obsession that can lead to sameness rather than standing out from the crowd. This isn’t to say that comparing ourselves with others isn’t useful, but that we have to be careful how we do it.

Benchmarking is useful as a tool of management, not leadership. By comparing with others we see what is already being achieved, and gain a point of comparison to judge performance. But this isn’t leadership. Leadership is about choosing a direction, and if your direction is chosen by imitating someone else’s best practice than you are following not leading.

By all means, look at what others are doing and learn from the best of what they do. Benchmarking has helped furniture maker Ikea develop a top of the range globe-spanning intranet system for 70,000 users a month. But don’t set out to match the work of others. Set out to exceed it or to apply it in a whole new area.

Leading Toward Substance

The work of true leaders adds something to the world they work in. As Ruth Schwartz has pointed out, the call to ‘give something back’ by engaging in socially beneficial activities outside of work carries with it the implication that the work we do brings no benefit in itself. If that’s how you feel, if you’re leading a team or organization that doesn’t contribute more to the world than it takes, then it’s time to take a step back and consider where you’re leading.

Successful leaders create value rather than just making money. To do that you have to provide something that people want, and that they wouldn’t otherwise have. True leaders drive toward something new, something that would otherwise be missing from the world, a goal that gives more than it takes. Amazon’s recent decision to start paying authors by the page for books read in its Kindle Unlimited lending library holds the potential to more closely align the interests of authors and readers, rewarding the writers who most entertain their audience. It’s the sort of innovation that adds something new and something of substance, instead of following what’s expected.

Leading Your Specific Organization

Many leaders fall back on generic solutions and quick fixes to try to improve their organizations or to tackle problems as they arise. But these only work if they are suitable to your specific organization and its circumstances. If you’re picking up a quick fix or the latest tool you’ve read about on the Internet then the chances of a good fit are low.

A true leader understands their organization. Spend time listening, thinking and developing that understanding. Instead of looking at where you can apply a management or leadership tool, look at the situation you have and ask which tool suits it best. Will a big speech from you really excite and inform people, or will it just annoy them while making you feel good? Do your people need team building or time to develop new procedures? Don’t pick a solution suitable for an organization, pick the one for your organization.

True leadership is specific, it is substantial and it sets its own course. If you want to lead, then following the patterns of others will never be enough.

Originally appeared on Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/3050309/hit-the-ground-running/how-to-stop-managing-and-start-actually-leading