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One Day Makes a Difference

January 20, 2010

I’m very pleased today to have Debbie Payne return to Changing Winds as a guest. Debbie’s last guest post was in November 2009, entitled Ten Engaging Conversations: Asking Provocative Questions to Provoke New Ideas. Her insightful perspectives on leadership and personal growth are especially relevant to the uncertainty we’re all facing.

January 1st is just another day, one day past December 31. Or is it? There is a marking of an ending and a new beginning as we shift to a new calendar year.

Does our thinking shift when we erase 2009 and 09 from our habits and awkwardly pen 2010–perhaps writing 200 and then squeezing in the 1? A minor irritation and then over the year we develop the new habit.

Leaders are often irritated in January. Thinking has shifted, new ideas are proposed, and new targets are made for the year. It’s not the same as it was last year, just days ago. We have marked a line in the sand and stepped over it, never to go back. Some are stuck in 2009 thinking trying to finish up old projects. Others are in transition trying to bridge between the two. Others have taken the leap and are moving fast into 2010 already discussing 1st quarter results.

As leadership thinking evolves, so does leadership behaviour. The social media craze is almost mainstream now; connecting broadly is the norm. Now we are looking for ways to connect deeply as well. What can we learn from all these mass connections? Which relationships should we really cultivate? Who are the people we want to be with in 2010? What kind of balance will best help us grow as leaders?

I think of my own work and the time it takes to cultivate relationships. I consider this the most important and most inspiring aspect of who I am as a consultant. When I have a contract I produce work and focus on the relationships in the work. When I do not have a contract I’m cultivating new relationships and developing existing ones in the search for work. I look for people who are shining in the world, people who want to shine even more. You know the ones with the energy sparkle who connect quickly on an intriguing topic. You can feel this energy even virtually as it comes purely from curiosity. If you are authentically curious as a leader about people your energy sparkle emerges.

A question for you:

What questions can you ask of others that stimulate your own energy sparkle, igniting theirs as well?

Try embracing 2010 and know you will soon be no longer irritated by the loss of the 9 and the introduction of the 1 squeezed in the middle.

About Debbie Payne, MA:
Debbie is the Senior Principal Associate and President of DP Leadership Associates, and founder and partner of Deberna International. She’s the author of over 25 curriculum publications and two books. Her latest book Tri-namics Power of One, Two, Three: Provocative Questions for Leadership Wisdom (2009)” is co-authored with Erna Hagge, founder of Coaching Services at the University of BC.

Debbie is a leadership consultant, facilitator and educator with over 25 years experience in adult education and consulting. She has certificates in management from the University of Western Ontario and in Organizational Behaviour from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, and an MA in Leadership from Royal Roads University. You can reach her at 604.209.5069 or by email debbie@dpleadership.com.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 7:00 am

    Susan, Thanks for your perspective on this. The listening is most important with out a doubt. We also can learn to ask more provocative questions, ones that make us stop and think, ones that grab us in the heart, or engage us in dialogue. In the asking we are able to energize the conversation in new ways. Have a great day!

  2. January 20, 2010 9:15 pm

    Wise words, Susan. Thanks for contributing.

  3. January 20, 2010 3:30 pm

    “What questions can you ask of others that stimulate your own energy sparkle, igniting theirs as well?”

    I believe it’s not so much the specific questions that you ask but rather your willingness to listen to others. A good leader should have a genuine interest in the people she is leading. Asking questions and truly listening to the responses demonstrates that interest. Furthermore, those responses provide the leader with a better understanding of what’s important to the people she is leading.

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