You are Contagious, Show up Fully

Contagious culture by Anese Cavanaugh is a wonderful take on how to lead and thrive both in business and life. What I really liked are the questions that are asked of you. Ultimately determining your true values will help you personally and then by determining the organization values you make the organization better. 
Here is the summary of the book with key points that can help leaders develop themselves and the culture of the organization. 
The first thing to know is that you are contagious and you have control. The main aim is to show up bigger and create great impact. The method you do this is by staying connected to purpose.
Here the IEP method is introduced which is working your Intentional Energetic Presence and by doing that you are creating culture every day with your team and clients and families. All of these interactions are contagious. 
The author shares that executives and employees from Fortune 500 companies, startups, small businesses, consultancies like IDEO, Cooper and others, lawyers, and doctors have used this content to help them strengthen team health, maximize leadership impact, improve client relationships and optimize company culture.
One of the keys to put IEP into practice is to set intentions by understanding the following questions
  1. Who are you now?
  2. What do you want to become?
  3. What type of agreements do you have?
  4. Who else can you share this experience with? 
Part 1 talks about the fundamentals of showing up. You must show up as you are contagious and the current culture you have now is how you have shown up so far. You can create a life that thrives. Leadership starts with you and you can choose to be happy or miserable. The key is to nourish yourself and others. Your presence creates impact. 
There is a suggestion on holding your fate which says you determine what culture you have. You need to take complete accountability. You can change your culture because you do have control. With intention, presence and action you can do it.  Some of the indicators are Accountability, Responsibility and Reciprocity. 
Here are some questions which I liked that can help us 
  1. What am I grateful for?
  2. What is the thing bugging me?
  3. How am I contributing to it?
  4. How am I going to take care of myself?
  5. How am I going to create impact today? 
Some of the game changers mentioned are do your work, stop complaining, ask for help, surround yourself with good people, practice gratitude, eat well, love our bodies, love life and love yourself. 
Another key question you can ask yourself is what is my intended impact and what do I need to do to show up better. There is a big emphasis on self-care and statements like I will sleep when I am dead are pervasive but not good for your overall being. I totally agree with this and I think sleep is often neglected but it is essential if you want to show up fully. Find out how you need to show up and intention is the name of the game.
Part 2 is showing up for you and focuses on the individual leader. This was my favorite part of the book. What you do for yourself is the most generous thing you can do for others.  You should develop a strong intentional impact, have a strong energetic presence and you can reboot your presence moment by doing the following 
  1. Get present and notice your posture
  2. Intend and decide
  3. Notice and take care by accessing the state of gratitude
  4. Breathe and envision your success
  5. Step in to the situation and reboot as needed 
This is certainly not new but a reminder does help. Strong personal leadership requires high self-awareness which is grounded on a strong foundation of values and beliefs. This will help because when you get knocked off you can climb back to your core which can provide you direction in times of turmoil. 
There are also chapters on setting yourself for success in the areas of physical and environmental energy, mental and emotional energy, relational and vibrational energy. The main points to consider are
  • Is your environment setting you up for success?
  • Eliminate clutter from every area of your life as this brings clarity to every part of your life
  • Ponder who you are becoming
  • Spend time with people you like
  • Don’t make assumptions. For example don’t assume the audience won’t like my presentation. Instead expect the best as that will increase your positive vibration which will be projected to the audience and you will end up giving a much better presentation. 
Part 3 talks about showing up for others and there is a chapter on being busy and burnout. The main argument is to ditch talking about being busy and instead change the topic to other things. The main reasons identified for burn out are
  1. Lack of connection to purpose. To overcome this you need to be clearly connected to your purpose.
  2. Lack of people connection. Understand what makes people tick and follow along those lines to make a deeper connection.
  3. Lack of appreciation or celebration. You might have great goals but you should make time for celebrating your victories
  4. Lack of vulnerability. Be vulnerable and engage with disruption.
  5. Lack of accountability and empowerment. You need to be accountable and feel your talents are being used up in all areas of your life.
  6. Lack of a reboot. For example if you have completed a grueling project it is good to have a reboot and take some time off.
  7. Lack of intention – Show up fully in all areas of your life. 
There is a chapter on how to grow leaders and some questions to ponder are
  1. How do you make people feel?
  2. How much impact are you having?
  3. How many leaders are you creating? 
Part 4 talks about showing up for culture and some key points here are
  • What you focus on and measure is contagious.
  • How are you contributing to current culture?
  • What culture do you really want and what values do you want it to reflect?
  • Identify behaviors which are being rewarded
  • The key is to create a culture people want to catch.
  • Practice time integrity and keep your promises. When you are wrong own it.
  • Be clear on what you want by clarifying and communicating.
  • Create a clean agenda before a meeting and don’t leave without next steps
  • Connect to purpose again the key is to understand why are you doing it
  • Listen and get curious by focusing on what people are talking.
  • Create something beautiful
  • Focus on results and impact 
There is a chapter on hiring and firing. 
Finally Part 5 is about showing up and moving forward. The key is to launch IEP in your organization. Some key points here are 
  1. Gratitude should be enforced by appreciating your present state.
  2. Inspire others to show up by showing up well.
  3. What do we want and what is missing currently?
  4. What is the dream of our organization or team?
  5. What do other organizations do that we can adopt?
  6. What is our cultural vision?
  7. What is our story?
As you can see there are a number of questions and lot of actions that can be taken. It is a pretty easy read and the main point here is show up for you, your team, your family and your kids. The way you show up is contagious.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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