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Three Keys to Success (and Happiness) with Reality-Based Leadership

Three Keys to Success (and Happiness) with Reality-Based Leadership
Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 by Cy Wakeman
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Reality-Based LeadershipCy Wakeman, is a dynamic international keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times bestselling author, and global thought leader with over 25 years experience cultivating a revolutionary new approach to leadership. 
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Grounded in reality, Wakeman’s philosophy has helped organizations and individuals all over the world learn to ditch the drama and turn excuses into results. Cy is the keynote speaker at our upcoming Vision 2018 conferences in Philadelphia, and Chicago. This is her third blog post in our reality-based leadership series. 

As I revealed in my newest book, No Ego and shared with the amazing leaders at Vision 2018 San Francisco, my research reveals the average employee spends two and a half hours each day in drama. Think about that. Over two hours per day, per headcount, arguing with reality, complaining, withholding engagement and resisting change.  Reality-Based Leadership actually gives people the tools and skills necessary to recapture that time and reinvest it in results. The great byproduct of the effort is enhanced success and happiness (engagement) – especially from highly accountable employees.

For many organizations today, I can’t think of a more profound impact on the bottom line then the ability to eradicate 2.5 hours per day per headcount of waste from the workplace. The modern leader’s role is not to motivate, inspire or engage – it’s to teach great mental processes that eradicate this emotional waste. I am confident that Reality-Based Leadership can absolutely restore competitive advantage to the workplace while enhancing engagement and creating innovative collaborative environments that will lead to even greater results in the future.

How do Reality-Based leaders do this in practice?

  1. They call people to greatness: In practice, a Reality-Based leader views their role as a manager of energy, not people. They ensure the mental and physical energy and resources are directed in a way that will create ROI for the organization. Leaders focus less on perfecting the circumstances of their people and work instead to grow their people so they are skillful enough to succeed in spite of the circumstances. They ask simple questions like, “What would great look like?” to halt venting and refocus energy from why we can’t into how we could.
  1. They coach the people in front of them to raise their level of consciousness so they can approach their issues or challenges from a much different perspective and with greater skillfulness. Leaders use tools and great mental processes in real time to find breakthroughs to daily challenges. One set of tools is a series of questions that enable people to bypass the ego and get right into self-reflection and accountability. For instance, when someone is upset – a simple question such as, “What do you know for sure?” or “What could you do next to add value?” will help the coachee move into self-reflection, the birthplace of accountability, and a search for the facts. This opens up a variety of options already known to the coachee that they can act on to add value. After all, happiness isn’t correlated to your circumstances, but the amount of accountability you take for your circumstances.
  1. They greet change with a “good to know.” In practice, those using Reality-Based Leadership appear neutral and calm, and they are using tools of self-reflection to call people to greatness. Leadership becomes almost effortless and employees grow in record fashion. Instead of working to slow change down, create perfect circumstances and “make change easier for people,” Reality-Based leaders ensure change is least disruptive for the business. The more we try and soften the change or the reality, the more we ensure that our people are even less ready for what’s next. Growth comes in bite-size pieces – upgrades if you will. Change isn’t hard. Change is only hard for the unready.

How has more than 20 years of qualitative experience from consulting in hundreds of organizations actually delivered results?

Here’s a simple illustration of the profound bottom-line impact.  While wages and salaries vary greatly from organization to organization, let’s use a hypothetical of a company with 100 employees, each earning $30 an hour and working 40 hours a week. Annually, wages paid would equal $6,240,000. Based on our research on the cost of emotional waste, well over $1,794,000 would have to be written off as a loss.

Now imagine that organization has 10 senior leaders, and each spends a minimum of five hours a week dealing with the drama that creates emotional waste (that’s a conservative estimate, based on our research). Let’s give these leaders a salary that averages $60 an hour. That’s another $156,000 of money spent on something that has no return on investment.

As HR leaders, imagine the dramatic impact on profitability if you could recapture the two-plus hours per employee per day being expended on drama and emotional waste. That is what the Reality-Based philosophy is all about.

Not only have Reality-Based organizations seen profound cost savings through the increase in productivity and improved results, they have seen measurable improvements in engagement, collaboration and retention of what we call high-accountable employees. They have experienced measurable improvements in organizational metrics such as work efficiency, quality control, safety scores and customer satisfaction.

Join me for the next Vision 2018 event in Philadelphia and I’ll show you what’s possible by sharing easy-to-use tools and methods that can be implemented immediately to help you start recapturing the hours wasted on processing drama. I’ll give you simple coaching questions to dramatically increase employee accountability, which leads to both increased engagement and improved results. After all, we don’t need to add anything to our teams to achieve happiness and success – they become our natural state once the drama is gone.

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