Hitting the High Notes

By Linda Fisher Thornton 

When I was singing with a local chorus many years ago, I took voice lessons. My teacher had me start by singing scales while she listened. After my voice cracked, I explained that I had trouble “hitting the high notes.” I explained that I was an Alto, not a Soprano and the high notes seemed way out of my reach.

Our Thoughts Drive What We Do

Listening to me try to hit those high notes, she encouraged me to stretch to reach them. But over a period of weeks of practice, my ability to reach them didn’t get much better. Then I learned a valuable lesson about how what we think determines what we do. I had a breakthrough when I realized that the piano keyboard visually has no high or low on it. It goes left to right. I started to think about my voice that way, as singing the notes from left to right instead of up and down.

Upgrading Our Mindset

That change in my thinking greatly expanded my singing range and I was no longer struggling to reach the high notes. I have learned through the years that changing our experience can be as simple as changing the way we perceive it. When our mindset changes, our actions follow.

Upgrading Our Leadership

This lesson also applies to how well we adapt our leadership as the world changes. Are we using the mindset of an ethical leader? Are we modeling full inclusion, or do we treat some types of people better than others? Are we placing a priority on our own development, or have we settled into a comfortable zone where we no longer challenge ourselves to learn and grow? 

We should never settle for a limited range and give up on adapting to change

Identify an area in your leadership where you might not be hitting the high notes, and where changing your mindset could make all the difference. 

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5 Unethical Phrases: Refusing to Change

Leading ethically requires staying competent as a professional and as a leader. The speed of change in today’s global economy may cause leaders to fall behind even while they are diligently working to stay on top of trends and industry knowledge.

These 5 phrases signal that a leader is refusing to adapt to changing times, putting the company and its employees at risk.

1. “But that’s the way we’ve always done it. It’s our proven formula.”

2. “I’m too busy to stay for the leadership training session (but all other company-wide leaders need to attend).”

3. “The senior management team has decided……”

4. “This is a family business. What the family says goes.”

5. “We’re not sharing our research data with the training department. Let them do their own research!”

 

What are the risks behind the statements?

Number 1 ignores the changing consumer expectations, the changing economy, and the changing competition. Doing the same thing that worked last year could lead a business to bankruptcy this year.

Number 2 clearly does not model the leadership that is expected from other leaders. It sends the message to company leaders that the training is not important.  It also ignores the importance of keeping up with leadership best practices. Some leadership practices that were considered acceptable 15 years ago will land a leader in court in 2010.

Number 3 ignores employees involvement in making major decisions. Employees are closer to the day-to-day processes that make the business work smoothly, have ideas for how to improve things, and may see a better option for the future of the company than the senior management team can create alone. Employees seek meaningful employment. They expect that their knowledge and creativity will be utilized to help the business be as succesful as it can possibly be.

Number 4 assumes a patriarchical model of leadership, which is outdated. It ignores employee engagement, morale and trust. It limits the impact employees can make on the company by assuming that they cannot possibly be as talented as the family members. It ignores the trap of groupthink that can impact close groups of leaders that tend to think alike. It ignores the new ideas and creative problem-solving that fresh eyes can provide.

Number 5 indicates that a department is withholding information that could help another department in the same company. Compartmentalized leadership like this is clearly no longer appropriate. It creates competition inside the business that makes it harder for the business to succeed. Leaders who compete against other leaders in the same company divert time and resources away from the success of the company.

 

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For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
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