Detachment from Outcome While Leading into the Unknown

Over the last few weeks, I have been involved in businesses in which the leader, faced with an exciting new opportunity, first embraced the opportunity and then let it go. It has been interesting proof in the world of successful business leadership of a life principle that I believe in and that is considered an important step on the spiritual journey of development…to detach yourself from outcome.

In one instance, a seemingly fantastic investor group stepped forward to help move a new product line into the market. Just as the terms were being worked out, the business leader said to his team ‘my intuition is telling me that something is wrong’. He dropped the negotiations of the terms with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ and walked away. This was an act of detachment from outcome, with the whole staff having been excited at the funding potential and what it meant for the enterprise, and then sitting in the disappointment of their leader walking away from the investment, clearly detached from the outcome. There was a lot of dissatisfaction, gossip, and an immediate sinking in staff morale.

The leader held steady with his choice. When I asked what was helping him to hold steady, he said that he guides himself within a clear framework of personal values and givens. One of those values was his trust in Spirit to guide him, the messages showing up as intuition. He said that daily, he expressed gratitude to Spirit for guidance that was just right for himself and his company. thus developing his feelings of trust. He was not detached from outcome of the company doing well. He was detached from the company doing well with a relationship to these particular investors.

I had the chance to witness a different investor group contacting this leader the following day, seemingly ‘out of the blue’. Within days, the investment became reality, the leader feeling that this new investor group was the perfect fit for his company…and the investors feeling the same way. It was a joyous transaction conducted with ease. Staff immediately shifted to joy, excitement, and an upsurge in morale.

When I asked different staff whether they now felt that it was right for the leader to have detached from outcome with the first investor group, there was silence by way of response as they were clearly thinking. Then they said ‘in one way, no it wasn’t good’ because it could have ended so badly for all of us and this company. In another way, it was very good because now we have something better.’

Leading into the unknown is tough enough. Leading into the unknown and being able to detach from outcomes can be even tougher. Foundational values and givens are essential for leaders to be able to meet this challenge of leadership.

Have you developed your foundational values and givens for leading your life, for your leadership?

Primary Causes of Present Moment Conflict

If you are aware of that you are in a situation where conflict is being caused…the moment when it seems to begin, you might wish to put that brakes on that conflict before it goes further and becomes disruptive…even for generations and even with people who are not present with you right now.

Find a way to signal to the parties involved, right here, right now, that you are concerned that what is happening in this moment is the beginning of conflict. After speaking up, start a conversation in which those of you who are present can explore

  1. Is everyone involved saying what they actually mean?
  2. Has everyone involved followed through on what they said they would do?

The primary causes of present moment conflict are

  1. People not saying what they mean.
  2. People not doing what they say they are going to do.

If it becomes a regular practice to explore these two at the start of conflict, it can be possible to avert conflict from taking hold and growing.

Can you imagine yourself making this a personal practice? Can you imagine a team in which everyone starts to take disciplined care to say what they mean and do what they say they will do? What do you think the impact would be?

The Theme of Abandonment in Life, Work, and Leadership

As a coach and mentor, a frequent theme that emerges in discussions with clients is the theme of abandonment. As adults, as people in leadership positions, many people have their buttons pushed if they feel abandoned. Imagine how this plays out in the workplace in even simple ways. Someone is expecting a communication back from a peer. The email or phone call doesn’t come. Days go by. A person whose buttons get pushed by feeling abandoned creates stories in his or her mind and becomes emotional and sometimes reactive. There may have been a simple explanation…no abandonment intended. Yet the person has been in anguish.

Feeling abandoned is not necessarily logical nor does it need to be justified. It simply is. Issues of abandonment usually go back to a very young age and is a dominant theme in the human race. When I think of some of the practices in some countries over time of putting new born babies in nurseries and way down the hall from their birth mothers, I think of one of the seeds for a sense of abandonment. We know the newborn was not truly abandoned, yet the feeling might be seeded there. When I listen to parents who are attempting to get a small child to leave a store, I too often hear them say ‘if you don’t come now, I will leave you here’…and then I watch them walking away. The child ultimately screams, and usually in a run, attempts to catch up with the parents. The parents aren’t intending to truly abandon. They simply have poor parenting skills and this is their way to accomplish a goal. Yet, in the child, the seeds for a lifelong theme of abandonment may be seeded here. There are so many ways that the theme of abandonment is seeded…intentionally or unintentionally.

So now, back to the workplace. The theme of abandonment plays out over and over, sometimes with the awareness that this is the issue taking place, most often with no awareness that the emotional trigger being played out is one of abandonment.

The theme of abandonment is one that often comes up in coaching sessions. Awareness is a great first step. Discussing issues of abandonment is an important way to shift from this being an emotional trigger that negatively affects leadership. The homework that I give to coaching clients to work on is to examine where in their lives and their leadership they are abandoning their own self. This is the challenge that needs to be addressed.

Take a moment. Right now. Are you being your genuine self and if not, can you identify where in your life, work and leadership you are abandoning yourself?