Elements of Visionary & Growth Oriented Leadership – Podcast With Traci Philips

One of the things I like to always remind people is we are humans first. Regardless of what the letters after our name are – CEO, COO, CFO. We get to look at how you talk about crisis. We get to look at how we respond in crisis as a human first. That reptilian brain at the back of our head, which is the fight, flight, freeze part. That is going to kick in when we come across crisis. Even as leaders, that’s going to be a part that they get to work with. It’s not a matter of shutting it down because it’s like people saying they want to just dismiss their ego. Good luck. We want to work with it. That’s probably one of the biggest pieces that I work with my clients on is how to integrate and work with that ego, the thing that it needs to chew on that’s actually going to serve us as opposed to putting us in a lot of times. Those typical leaders who want to just forge in and continue to be productive and consider themselves the go-to leaders, they can push too hard.

What I tend to find in these types of times is that we just see an augmentative kind of a larger-than-life reaction to what is typically our natural way of dealing with crisis as humans. First again, aside from leaders depending on how long they’ve been doing it can have some skill sets and strategies and that under their belt that can help them to do this, but I mean this is something that none of us have ever seen before. This is a type of crisis that is traumatizing people in a whole new way. So, we need kind of a different approach to how we’re going to handle that. Right now, there’s new strategies that I’m kind of innovating as we go with my corporate clients especially because that looks different than a single business owner at this point to some degree. We’re just kind of opening up. I’m trying to get them to go back to curiosity, the place we were as a kid. We have to be open and curious because at the end of the day, it’s like well this is going to happen and you don’t know it’s going to happen, so let’s dial it back. Let’s work with what is right now. That’s what I would say just in the current environment. I know that you’re making these videos to be evergreen, so I love what Tony Robbins recently said about the time renaissance. We’ve been here before. We’re here again as human beings. Over time, crisis happens. So, really what I think is extraordinary about this time is where we’ve been through similar times in the past. We didn’t have the technology we have today. I mean for us to be able to pivot so quickly and to some extent bring our day-to-day physical lives immediately online where we can continue to have some of the quote-unquote normality that we had before is extraordinary. Let’s capitalize on that. Let’s look at where we can use that.

The one thing I want to say about leadership is from this idea of hierarchy of leadership to collaborative leadership, what I call the conscious leader, the fully owned leader, the one that is not just with the hat of this is what I’m expected to do right in the position I’m in but the person who’s bringing their whole self forward and has that compassion. I think one of the biggest things we see now today and in a lot of articles and various things that are posted out there is that these types of leaders, the best leaders now have not just high IQ, they have high EQ, the emotional quotient, emotional intelligence. They’re able to manage how they are emotionally, not just how they act physically. I mean these are some of the trends and things, I think.

This time, for me, is incredibly exciting. I was telling my husband I was made for this time, boot camp of life for the time we’re in right now. For me, not to disqualify the difficulties that we’re all navigating right now, but we have a tremendous time to really rewrite a lot of how we’ve done things that have maybe not been serving us collectively as well as they could to really dig into those and say well how can we do it differently with intention and consciousness. So, it’s an exciting time in my world. It’s definitely constantly changing, so you have to be both flexible and again like that keeping attitude. What can I do right now? What would I like to be in the future intentionally? Where would I like to be placing myself? Where am I kind of trying to navigate this shift? Also, if things come up, it’s the difference between the lens of expectation and the lens of acceptance.  If we’re going along, as we have planned and suddenly things shift, what are we going to do? That to me, defines a leader, what you do in the times when things are not going to plan. To your point earlier, we are already in this time. The time is asking that of all of us. We’re all leaders to some degree. So, what are we going to do with it? We can create. I say that the creation energy is messy. It’s messing anybody who’s ever gone into an artist studio. It’s messy, and yet the most beautiful things come out of that mess. I really think from the hope perspective. I hope people can see that if we take away and strip away the storyline what it all symbolizes is actually quite tremendously exciting.

What I find, and certainly is true of my clients, is that true leaders have two main characteristic traits. They’re visionary and they’re growth oriented. I do believe, at the core, that all human beings are naturally growth oriented. We may lose that through our conditioning and our experiences in our lack of belief, in our capacity, but I think we come it naturally. I think we’re kind of innately born to be growth oriented. I mean we grow, so that makes me believe we’re that way. Leaders are aware of this right there. I know throughout my life people would say when do you turn off? When do you turn off? So,  what’s next, what’s next, what’s next? This is good. I think part of it is what I try to also teach or two things because it’s not just about what’s next, it’s also about celebrating what we’re doing. Let’s look at what’s working, and let’s really take the time, like you said, during these times. It’s about self-reflection. How can we be reflective and growth oriented, growth visionary and growth oriented, at the same time? The one thing I say is how leaders do this is, they have coaches. It’s not just because I’m a coach. I mean I have coaches. I’ve had coaches since I started coaching. I had coaches before as an athlete. We’re human. We can’t get a bird’s-eye view of our own life. So, this is what I tell my clients looks like I’m just not doing give yourself some slack. You’re doing all these other things. This is what she hired me for. This is why you have coaches. This is why you have consultants. This is why you pay these people to be in your left or right pocket. It’s because we’re here to help facilitate what you just talked about. Where are we going to slow this down? How are we going to kind of open this up and analyze it a little bit so people pick the pieces apart of what the success is now? As we start to expand and as you tend to grow into that vision that you have, how do you foresee that things might need to shift and change?

One of the things that I see time and time again when I’m brought into companies is that a lot of them weren’t intentional in developing themselves. In other words, it’s like building a home without a foundation. They had this grand idea or they’re really good at something. They’re just like I’ll just hang my shingle and go out there and do it. The core things allow a foundational support for that company. A lot of what I do and my job is to, I mean of course I stay in my lane there’s certain things I do well and beyond that one of the things as approaches is to bringing in other people. To say, ‘Okay, here’s an operational specialist.’ You may need to look at your operations in your systems, because they don’t exist or they exist, but they’re completely unintentional. They’re there, just not working fluidly, to help people see what they can’t see. I think, especially when I come in, my business clients tend to be stage two growth, which means they’ve gotten to this kind of place like you’re thriving but suddenly all the gaps start to show, all of those leaks start to really come to the surface. They’re trying to band-aid it. They’re trying to kind of stick the finger in the dike type of thing, and look, we need to core it down and look at why this is right. I start with core values. Some of the most profitable and successful and I mean from a place of sustainability, so everything is running internally really well, are those companies that actually are run by core values.

I sat down with one individual who’s in a company, here in North Carolina. I was introduced to him, because I was fascinated reading about him. He had created this model. I thought I need to sit down and pick this man’s brain about what he had done that had allowed him to do so almost with ease, the natural growth of this company in a very tough industry in sustainable energy which now is becoming more of a thing but when he started was not. How did he grow it so easily? When we sat down, he said I’ll tell you. My wife and I started this company in our living room. We started with a set of core values. Even to this day, we hire and fire by these values. Everything is determined by these core values. Even the way their offices were made, you saw the core values on the wall, but everything was symbolic and representative of those core values. So, we can be that intentional. Is everybody going to be? No. Does anybody have to be? No, you don’t really have to be, but the closer you can be in that intentionality and setting that foundation and having those people around you who are going to support you. I think we were raised to be. It’s a badge of honor to be self-made. When in reality, I don’t like that term because none of us are self-made.First of all, we didn’t make ourselves. Our parents did. Second of all, we’ve always had someone there to open a door for us, support us, or whatever. So, we’re not self-made. I think we need to understand the principle of it is that there is no shame in support. The best leaders, the ones who we put on these pedestals and say how that person is amazing, they have had so much support in their life. You just may not see all the supportive people behind them, but they have their own triage and they continue to for a reason that allows them to be those leaders. They can just focus on that zone of genius that they came here for it to be in that growth-oriented visionary. They have the people in the right seats to support the rest of the operations around what it is that they’re doing.

So, my main message is focused on coming home. I think it’s very interesting at this time, we were asked to come home. We were asked to come into our homes, stay put, and let’s let this thing ride out. I see coming into our homes as symbolic to this space that each individual lives within. We’ve been so conditioned to look outside of ourselves for security. We’re in a time where a lot of those systems that we have relied on are not meeting our needs. That’s really scary. I think it’s also for us to see that that’s not where it’s at. We’re not meant to ground externally. We’re meant to ground internally. We’re meant to find our solid self-own, who we are, why we’re here, and what’s our legacy. Those are the things I work with clients on is defining that right. If we have a vague understanding, it’s just kind of somewhere up here in our brain but we haven’t owned it. We can’t own it unless we’ve defined it. We can’t define it unless we’ve become aware of it at a foundational level. So, I would say take this time. You made that great point of being self-reflective. Take this time, because I think the biggest push is going to fix it. What am I going to do? Again, we’re so productive conditioned. How am I going to keep being productive? We’re not human doers, we’re human beings. We aren’t within ourselves for a while.

I think some of the best support systems I have right now – I have a girlfriend who’s a hypnotherapist. She does this stuff where she takes you in. What is that feeling she said? Where do you feel it in your body? It’s in my stomach. Does it have a color? Does it have a shape? I mean really working with those sensations in our body. I had some of the most amazing aha’s that trace back into patterns throughout my life that I wouldn’t if I hadn’t taken that time with that support to really analyze, look at, and figure out. We have all the answers within, and we just think they’re supposed to be out here. When I ask my clients, “What do you think? It doesn’t matter what I think. What do you think? What do you feel? What do you sense?” We, again, have been taught to look outside for the answers, to look outside for the support, to look outside for the grounding. I think this time is showing us that’s not where it’s at.

I would tell people take this time because it’s a gift. I know it doesn’t feel like one because those productive human doers and us are like I can’t do it the way I’m supposed to do. This is scary and I see things going away. In reality, if we follow the story line, that’s how we’re going to feel. But, if we strip it away and we look at, ‘Wow, what if this time we’re really about something else? – what if this time really were a gift? – how would I have to look at this time in order to see it as a gift?’, then all of a sudden we see we’re spending time with family and with friends, again alone, in nature, and exercising. I didn’t know so many. I used to be the only one out walking. Now, it’s like everybody is walking in my neighborhood. It’s lovely. It’s beautiful. We’re supposed to experience this. So, I’d say take the fear and transform it into faith that this time is here as a gift. You can’t live in fear and faith at the same time. I don’t necessarily mean spiritual faith. That is a big part of it for a lot of us. For people who don’t feel like – Oh, I’m not religious or not spiritual, have faith in yourself. I think this is testing our capacity as human beings more than anything ever has in our lives at least at this point. So, have faith. What if this were a challenge to show my capacity to myself? What if it were? How would I look at this differently? How would I go about my day to day differently? How would I deal with fears and triggers that pop up for me differently? Reach out for those supports. I mean, this is not the time to do it alone. I know that some people out there say that. I always would ask us a question to a client what do you feel about that? Well, I don’t know. Well, if you did know, what would it be? We can ask ourselves that question because there’s that immediate reaction of I don’t know but what if I did know? What do I see now? What do I sense now? That’s what I would love for your viewers to take away from today.

As a Leadership & Performance Strategist, Traci is a crackerjack at assisting her clients to clearly define their personality, passions and purpose to create a targeted and congruent strategy to assure success in any area of life. With unique strengths in translating both verbal and non-verbal language, Traci assists individuals and teams to apply effective tools and approaches to identify core issues and challenges that are blocking desired objectives and outcomes. Her clients learn and practice better communication & resolution strategies and are able to create and sustain more cohesive & cooperative situations and environments, while experiencing more fulfillment and pleasure in their lives.