A & O times four…

What’s your name?

What time is it?

Where are you?

What just happened?

These are the four questions that Terry asked me on the side of Breckenridge Mountain Eight, back in the summer of 2008. Seems like it was only yesterday. The ambulance sirens were blaring, the sun was shining, and my brain was refusing to cooperate. Just moments earlier, I had been enjoying a mountain bike ride with my son Jordan and then I rounded the last switchback and saw an obstacle in my path – another rider. My last memory was my feet leaving the pedals. I remember the awesome feeling of taking flight. When Terry (paramedic) arrived and started in with the questions, I could only remember my name. I was Alert & Oriented times one. Not good. I wrote a blog about this earlier and continue to tell this story to my clients. Here’s why. Do not miss this. This is HUGE.

All of us would benefit from being knocked out, losing consciousness for a brief period, and observing the mind rebooting itself. This would be especially beneficial to us as leaders. As leaders we are most focused on moving the team forward. We are oriented toward progress. We want to see up and to the right, in a big way. We want the team to perform incrementally better and better and, in the process, exceed the goals we’ve established. Most leaders just want their team members to grab their bike and get on with it. Too many leaders fail to realize that, like me, these teammates are alert and oriented times one or times none. Here’s the problem. Individuals, teams, and leaders will not make consistent progress forward without being collectively A & O times four. Excellence requires full consciousness. So, leaders, lets do a little discovery together…

What’s your name?

Most leaders tell me with crystal clarity who they are as a company/team. They started the place. They’re the head coach, crafted the vision, or invented the hot selling widget, so why wouldn’t they? Remember, once we know something, we cannot imagine what it’s like not to. Most of your team does not know who you are as an individual, much less as a collection of individuals. You, leader, must go deeper in understanding your core. Leaders are believers. Do you know your deepest held beliefs? Leaders are connectors too. Does your team connect to your beliefs and have the autonomy to author their own? Are you inspiring them to go deeper and align internally and then toward their aim? Are you making them do what they can and making sure you have enough alignment in your aim?

What time is it?

Again, as leaders we know it’s time to act – sell something, deliver something, manage something, or at least do something. We know when it’s time to practice and when it’s game time. We know it’s time to prepare and we know it’s time to execute. We are fixated on chronos – the measurement of time. Every practice is planned down to the minute. However, leader, are you aware of the kairos moments. Kairos moments are the season of time. Not all moments are the same. Are you aware of your kairos moments at home, with your team, and with yourself? Are you valuing your kairos? Are you aware of your presence when your team is having a kairos moment? Are you too busy to redeem time and sit with someone when you’ve got other things to do? Does God live on your wrist as the African parable preaches? Slow down and sit with your relationship to time, leader. Slow down and reflect. Write. Be. Good…

Where are you?

Where is your mind, friend. Most of you have a mind that’s going fast forward instead of marrying the moment and simply being who you are, wherever you are. Sounds easy but it’s not. Do you know where you’re going? I mean, come on man, do you know where you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there? Does your team? Or, are you stuck in the middle? Not high enough to make real decisions, not low enough to understand our customers, our position, or our value proposition. Stuck with teammates that are just as disoriented too. All busy. Always in meeting. Always behind schedule. Never enough. Sometimes too much. Counting down the time till the pain will stop? Or are you humbled and honest about where you are, curious and interested about how you move forward, and embracing the pain and suffering that are part and parcel to progress? Do you have a big dream inspiring you? Are you aligning behaviors with beliefs? Are you living a work/life filled with opus?

What just happened?

Are you a cause and effect expert on what causes you chronic pain? Are you a cause and effect expert on what brings you pure joy? Are you taking responsibility or taking up residence in victimhood? Are you learning from your losses? Are you learning from love? Are you letting life get you down or developing the discipline to sit with your sorrows without giving in to them? Are you able to celebrate your wins without getting high on self? Are you mastering the discipline of becoming hard on self, not down on self – hard on self, not high on self? Are you able to forgive yourself and others? Life is love and loss. Whatever’s happening its somewhere on the spectrum. Are you embracing this reality and loving more than you loathe? This is why my new mantra is as follows:

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

Do you see the problem, my friend? We all want teams that know who they are, teams that know their identity and orient around living it. Teams that are passionately pursuing this vision through adversity and over time. Teams that understand what is most important. Teams that know where they are, how they got there, and, most importantly, where they are going. Teams that ride through their pain and help their teammates ride through theirs. Teams that help their fellow riders up, dust them off, and stand with them in the fight. We all want teams moving from a lone toward all one – one L of a difference.

Teams like this are awake and oriented times four.

Teams like this have answered the big questions and know that these answers are always under construction and getting clearer. Teams like this are one, distinct and deeply connected, becoming BTL. And, teams like this are led by leaders that have gone first and are doing the hard work within. Yes, leader, every leader gets exactly the team they deserve. Want a better team? Become a better leader. Do the work within. Do the work. Good.

Today, a team of LaCrosse coaches came together for their first practice as a team of three becoming one. Today, a team of leaders learned that they are their toughest leadership challenge. How ‘bout you friend? Are you awake and oriented times four? Have you accepted that leading you is your biggest leadership challenge? Are you too proud to ask for help? Are you too scared to show your team your humanity? Are you too busy to create kairos moments? Are you modeling the way, embracing the pain and suffering, and embodying truth in love? Slow down and reflect on this lengthy rant. Slow down, if you can take the time (funny, huh)!

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

2 thoughts on “A & O times four…

  1. Love this one, Chet. Some great questions to ponder. I love the idea of Kairos vs Chronos and will lean into this more. I didn’t know about this experience you had and it’s a great story and analogy on A/O x 4. I’ve been riding my bike on the roads out east and I’m getting better by the ride (good News to report – I now understand the importance of the big wheel
    : ) Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom!!

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