We were privileged to meet with Eitan Reuveni and hear directly from him some of his managerial tips. Sure, all of us can read what is posted on the Elephant site, but to hear Eitan and listen to his stories made it all that much more relevant.
Eitan started the meeting by showing us a picture:. He then asked us to call out how many squares we see. As each one of us answered and changed our estimate learning from others, he was pleased. Eitan showed us how that this interaction is so important: working together as a group.
Now that we had a group, what makes a good leader? Is a manager a leader? Eitan then asked us which we would prefer
: a manager who is a good bureaucrat or a manager who is a leader. He asked us to name people that we thought were good leaders and then say why we thought the were good. Among the qualities we listed were: Honesty, professionalism, courage, speaking at the level of the people, vision, charisma, caring about the people he is leading, and the ability to get people to do what he wants them to do. Are these qualities skills or attitudes? We can learn skills, but can we learn attitudes? Can we unlearn bad habits/attitudes? Do our attitudes help us attain our goals?
That brings us to goals. What do we consider success? Is it attaining our goals? Is it satisfaction with attaining our goals? Each of us has a personal goal and our satisfaction with the goal works only if they are predetermined. It does not work if we throw the dart and draw the target around where it landed. Also, how many Lotto winners are really happy when they get it in one lump sum? Eitan then worked us backward through a flow chart where the end point was success. What do we need to put out or give of ourselves to get what we determined is success? What are we doing or how do we do it? What is our state of mind or motivation? What are our habits that influence this state of mind? Here it is in Hebrew: הרגלים←גישות←התנהגותעשיה←הוצות ← הצלחה
Using the simple example of crossing our arms, Eitan showed us that some habits are so ingrained, we don’t even realize them. Now he told us a number of stories about people’s habits, individual or collective, that influence how they interact with other people. He emphasized that not all attitudes are bad, but we need to learn what is negative and explore how we can change those. He explained that the pathway is a way to find what we can do to improve ourselves and obtain our goals.
It was then very appropriate that he talked about the circus elephant. He explained how a very large circus elephant is kept under control by a thin chain; this control a learned habit. He asked to look at what we do and our habits to find our chain, especially if it is confining us and not allowing us to reach our goals.
We discussed motivation: what is negative motivation and what is positive motivation. Fear and bonuses are external and are temporary. We need to find what is within us that can motivate us in the most effective manner.
What makes a successful leader, or for that manner a successful person? Here are five characteristics that Eitan believes are most important:
· Think Positive: look for opportunities, not restraints
How did you read that? Did you look at it positively or negatively? How do you look at things in general? How do you look at others? A good leader will look at people not as they are, but how they can be. And this positive attitude about things and people is catching!
· Target Oriented: know what is your goal
· Self Motivated (also willing to do things that you don’t like to do!)
· Balanced: can balance work and home life, and have a grip on reality in terms of what to expect from others
· Always Willing to Improve
And what is Eitan’s advice to us: make a weekly appointment with our most important client–ourself. Sounds crazy? Not really. Thinking about things in the shower, driving, or in my own case, in the pool while swimming, is not really efficient. Anyone and everyone can benefit from taking about an hour to sit down with their weekly diary to review the previous week and plan for the next one. No matter what our position, even a busy mother, can benefit from this meeting. Try it and see.
Thank you, Eitan. I learned a lot from your meeting with us. I plan take what you said and make it work for me.