the E of SIMPLE

the E of SIMPLE

As said in my previous blogs, SIMPLE is an acronym. Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for an approach, point or principle.

S = Success story or just story
I = Intelligence
M = Mission-driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy, empowerment and engagement

These words are carefully chosen. Not just because the first letter of each word, together form the word SIMPLE. The word SIMPLE has been my most important starting point, though.

With this set of SIMPLE principles I want to appeal to managers, leaders and (sometimes just self-appointed) coaches to remind them that there are very useful alternatives to traditional management methods, old school frameworks and traditional ‘thinking”.

Secondary purpose of my blogs, of course, is to create a more hands-on purpose to the one-liners I regularly use in this blog series and in real life, so they’re not mere words. These words and motto’s have to indicate what approaches are needed nowadays in the relationship between executives, managers, coaches and workers.
The S, I, M, P and L are already posted, so now for the letter E.

Where ‘Energy, empowerment and engagement’ stands for:

Do you get energized, do you feel empowered when you think about, or have to work towards, a particular goal? Does this goal give you purpose? Does it have a meaning? Is it engaging? Of course, I don’t just mean goals in your working environment. It can be any goal or purpose. It has to be ‘something’ that induces energy.

Especially in this sense, this doesn’t have to be formulated SMART. (SMART as in the misused acronym) It can be a personal goal or a common community goal, something related to your family or something you like to achieve with and within your network.
I don’t like to use the buzzword ‘engagement’. But it does comes down to when you can feel so involved with the aim that it inspires you and gives you energy to promote it.

In the dictionaries there is a multitude of meanings of the word energy.
I have simply divided them into 2 categories.

The kind of energy a manager would like to see in the workplace:
• working power, activity, enterprising.

Tom Peters argues that in the current and future time, leaders are asked to manage people into their own strength.

That is why I mention the meaning of word energy in the other category, which are far more “personal”:
• strength of spirit, dynamism, bravery, decisiveness, vitality, liveliness, diligence, willpower.

What gives energy?
Oprah Winfrey quoted: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you. ”

If you look at the SIMPLE concept you see that all insights, approaches en principles that are described and with the letters, it can raise a hell of a lot of energy. Success stories give energy, an Intelligent approach gives energy, a well-chosen Mission gives energy, Passion and Love & true Leadership give energy. All are interrelated, which I have tried to visualize with the picture below:

What gives even more energy?

That ‘something’ that just hangs in the air, that positive vibration, the enthusiasm that a leader notices and with which he can inspire people in the company. Value adding work. Meaningful work. Work that is appreciated.

Self-esteem, confidence, sensitivity, confidentiality, the things that are you, give energy.

It gives Energy when it is not only noticed that your colleague can’t handle (Peter or Petra principle) the job, but something is really done about it. Because, that colleague is very unhappy and he / she makes the entire teams / group or department uncomfortable. That person should do those things that he / she is good at. Or he / she should be dismissed with compassion and a fair severance payment.

It gives energy when you may play around with serious business ideas to gain perspectives from another side. Or if you may fantasize about the solution, without being regarded a nitwit. Or if you can make mistakes or may experiment and fail. Or if you may use other, than the existing and formalized, techniques to explain and to articulate something. Such as a mind map, a drawing, a cartoon, a fable or a story. To be short: what makes you go do your work every day.

Energy flowing away, a depiving force

What you can do, when you are able to do so, is to say goodbye, to all the things that drain your energy. Of course I can only speak for myself on this matter. My energy leaks away because of a few things, namely:

-> False compliments (Compliments that are actually not compliments).
Example: a CTO says: “I like her, because she is pretty technical, for a woman ….”.

Example: After I indicated that I feel some things are pretty tricky: “Oh, how good of to you say that, you’re aware of this incompetence”. smiley

Example: “Mary, I admire you because of your… (summing up some characteristics), but you need more …….”. To mention a trait I would never want to possess.

-> See certain personality traits as weakness
Example: To say it’s bad (or unintelligent) when I say that I sometimes rely on my intuition. This while I consider intuition as internalized knowledge. Something you are so well known with, such as a person or a subject, that this comes ‘naturally ‘. Especially men find that intuition is not rational (enough) and find it hard to appreciate.

-> Nearsightedness that it is near blindness
Managers who say they appreciate integrity and demand this from you (and are backbiting about colleagues and employees who apparently haven’t got this standard), and then don’t hesitate one second to put a packet of cigarettes (for private use) on the lunch meeting receipt. Or managers who accept bonuses in the company but, at the same time, reduce pensions of employees, and who are surprised that people are outraged by that.

Energizing managers and executives
Managers that can generate energy in me are managers who live according to the following mottos:

– Building relationships is more important than developing status.
– I can build my stature because I’m seen as someone who connects people. Someone who brings people and interests together.
– Giving away your power is a victory instead of a defeat.
– Barriers for communication should be wiped out. So not an ‘open door policy’ but really being approachable.
– Really ‘walk the talk’ Example: If you are cost consciousness, then go about prudently with your privileges you’ve gotten as manager or better still: make no use of them. (This last one is very applicable in this time of budget cuts!)

In my next blog I will give you a summary of the SIMPLE concept.

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