Solving Leadership Isolation with Connection

Leaders lay awake at night wondering what’s really happening. You wonder, “Who should I touch base with?

Isolation prevents you from feeling the pulse of your organization. Blind spots hinder your ability to see yourself.

pizza

The cabinet:

The President has a cabinet, why not you?

We just completed a three month pilot of a leader’s cabinet. I invited seven leaders in the organization where I lead to meet with me for dinner and conversation, once a month. There were three goals.

  1. Connect with each other outside the organization. (Primary)
  2. Clarify focus so we can all pull together.
  3. Develop leadership skills.

Last night we decided the pilot was successful. We’re continuing to meet.

What’s working:

  1. Food. The organization buys subs or pizza. Eating together facilitates connection.
  2. Informality. We sit around the table or on couches and chairs while we meet. Last night there was a fire in the fireplace.
  3. Rotation. Every member hosts the group. Hosting is simple. Use paper plates. This isn’t a dinner party.
  4. Conversation. Last night, while we ate, we talked about hulu, netflix, technology, pets, babies, old TV shows, and more.
  5. Listening. My primary role is listen and learn. I constantly remind myself to be quiet.

Last night’s agenda:

  1. What do I look like, when I’m doing my job? (Feedback for me.)
  2. What wins have you recently seen? Wins are more about people than programs or projects.
  3. What are we doing out of habit that is no longer useful?
  4. Bad is stronger than good.

Tips:

  1. Diversify gender, age, and marital status.
  2. Relax.
  3. Let people see what’s important to you and express interest in what’s important to them.
  4. Share concerns or frustrations, but, never talk about something you aren’t prepared to do something about.
  5. Talk positives five times more than negatives.
  6. Let the team guide and support you.

How can leaders solve isolation and connect?