I discovered this book one day that I found myself alone for few minutes in the office of an HRD working in my company. The book was standing there on the table, and my curiosity brought my hand to it. I read the cover page and felt extremely excited about reading it. The promise was amazing, the book would change my life ! Wouldn’t it ?
When science studies meet soft skills
If it has not changed my life yet, I can’t deny the book bears some kind of magic. Not the kind of classical magic that surprises you with apparent irrationality, when you don’t see the link between the beginning and the end of the trick. That book contains magic uncovered by the latest scientist and most rational analysis.
The author is a doctor, which gives him credit to develop his main idea: physical coherence and well-being facilitate emotions regulation, feelings control, better thinking and behavior capabilities.
Improving our physical coherence can lead us to higher performance levels in a VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex & Ambiguous – and make us happier human beings.
Basically, your heart rate drives everything else in you (« cardiac coherence »). That’s the reason why you need to learn to control your breath rhythm and, less importantly, take omega 3 supplements or do yoga. If you manage to take control of your body well enough, you are then ready to take control of your emotions, feelings, etc.
« What we need to do is take back control so that we decide what we feel, not our boss or our partner or our kids or our clients or colleagues ».
Focus on your Energy
The author explains how to maximize your energy potential, from physical coherence to emotional coherence. To him, energy optimization is the most important skill you can develop in life and obviously as a leader. « Energy management is much more important than time management« , he says. Most companies propose to their employees all sorts of training to improve their organization skills, do better planning, learn how to manage conflicts… how many of us have ever attended a training on « energy management »? Interesting.
According to doctor Watkins, « Management is about doing, whereas leadership is more about being« . It’s a fact that knowledge rarely builds leadership. As a test, think of one person you believe has great leadership. List her/his main qualities. Are they about knowledge ? I doubt it.
Find your Purpose
Your energy comes from finding the purpose you want to achieve. Knowing your purpose will make you happier because it will have you focus on your personal goal, rather than on other people’s judgments or business short term indicators.
What’s your purpose in life ? That question can seem obvious, but when you think deep about it, it’s not. To me at least !
Understand other people’s purpose helps build trust, and « Trust is the glue that hold teams together » according Watkins.
The « art of Appreciation »
One of the main skills to become a great leader is « the art of appreciation« , i.e. « convert every experience in a learning experience« .
Find a way to appreciate one thing in every person, « even if the only think we can appreciate is that the individual in front of us isn’t twins! ».
Relationships are the key to a happier life
To grow an idea or a business, you need to develop influential relationships spending time with people and building trust.
Often, people about to die feel remorse about common themes – ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard‘, ‘I wish I’d have the courage to express my feelings‘, ‘I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends‘, ‘I wish that I had let myself happier‘ ».
« Holacracy » : the best organization system
This book travels to the brain, sometimes to your own brain. It goes through different kind of leadership styles and organizational systems with very concrete examples taken from real situations.
The best system for the author is the « Holacracy« , i.e. « everything that exists (…) is a whole entity (…) but it is also part of something greater« . Understanding that helps business to organize around autonomous and self organized teams, giving everyone a voice without losing vertical command. That requires quick feedback between different teams, whatever their hierarchical level is, quick decisions testing, and having a common purpose shared by everyone.
The book reverses a paradigm: companies don’t make people fulfilled, fulfilled people happen to make great companies. So the main focus must be reversed from companies’ short term objectives to individuals’ long term purpose (which goes beyond the company frame). Now that this is scientifically proven, think of what deeply drives you in life and become a great leader. Last, but not least, don’t forget to breathe… and be happy !