Ep 140: The Leadership Pipeline — Part 4: Structure To Support Creating That Possibility
We have to help learners move along the pipeline to transition from knowing the WHAT (possibility) to the HOW (structure). Last episode’s discussion on the third step focused on creating the possibility; now, we move on to constructing a structure to support the possibility we just created. In this episode, Adam Quiney explains that the structure’s role is to help us stay in the course. It lets us know if we’re moving forward towards our possibility or if we’re stuck. But how do we construct the structure?
Do not miss a step! Continue moving forward with us as a leader through learning the steps in the Leadership Pipeline. Listen and indulge yourself in this engaging episode.
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Ep 140: The Leadership Pipeline — Part 4: Structure To Support Creating That Possibility
To remind the listeners, this is part of an ongoing six-part series to the Leadership Pipeline that leaders move through when they want to basically create a reinvention of the leadership for themselves and the organization to go from an industrial era kind of managerial approach to a transformational leadership approach.
These are conversations in service of causing, developing and creating leadership at the moment. These are not conversations for you to listen to then go to someone and be like, “You need to do this.” Parrot them and give them to people like advice. That’s a great way to take away the power of these conversations. The power is always in us embodying what we are talking about here. That’s where leadership was created. Before we dive into our episode, I want to put in a quick plug for The Client Creation Course. We have fifteen people going through the course right now and they were already creating some real shifts for themselves.
This is a course where most people experienced sales and what happens. Most of us that are entrepreneurial or in some service-based profession have the thing we love doing. We have this other thing to do called sales and create clients. We are willing to do it to do the thing we love but they forever are separated. They are distinct from one another if it’s not sales and maybe some other version of enrollment for yourself. The problem here is that at best in our life, we get to spend a lot of time during this thing we love but we stuffed through this shitty thing over here. This course is about creating and then having you step into the possibility that all of it is the same and that you get to be fully expressed as you in all of it.
That’s what we teach. It’s how to create prosperity, clients and serve people purely as a natural expression of you in the world. That is miraculous. That’s the promise of this course. Without further ado, let’s get to the topic at hand. We are roughly right at the middle point of our Leadership Pipeline. The middle point would technically be 3 and 4, and we are in Part 4. It is structured to support creating possibility. A reminder that this is part of an ongoing series on the pipeline that leaders move through when they finish or when they wish to go from an industrial age of managerial approach to a transformational approach rather than creating more of what you are already reliably to create. They wish to create something beyond the realm of their existing paradigm. Last time, we talked about enrolling people in possibility. It’s Part 3 and the reminder of the six steps. We’ve got one, Leader Takes on Their Own Work. Two, Creating Trust. Three, Enrolling People in Possibility. Four, our episode, Structure to Support Creating That Possibility. Five, Committed Action Towards Possibility. Six, Addressing Breakdowns.
Let’s talk about structure. At this point in your pipeline, you should have got yourself and your team enrolled in some kind of new possibility, meaning we have a what. What is it that we are committed to creating? Wwe need to get clear on the structure That’s going to support you and your team in creating this. A lot of this work often requires learning how to create possibility. Most often, that involves designing a project plan of some sort. As a leader, you may need to get clear on existing paradigms that your team is operating in and support them to think outside of these boxes. Simply insisting you need to think outside of the box is not usually very helpful for your people. We address questions like, “Are you yourself thinking outside of the box? Are you getting supported to do this? Are you even aware of the box that you are in?” This is not something you can determine on your own. That would be like a fish spontaneously realizing that they were swimming in water.
That doesn’t happen, at least to our knowledge. We are going to go as far as saying this conversation. Our assumption is it wouldn’t happen because they can’t see water. It’s the thing they see the world through. It’s like if you never saw a mirror or a reflective surface, there’s no point where you would spontaneously see your eyeball. It is that what you see the world through. To get clear on your own box and paradigm, that’s where you need the support of the coach or leader. That’s off the court with you. That’s not invested and not a part of your world.
That goes back to part one. The more you work with your own coach or leader, to support you in getting clear on the boxes you are operating inside of, the easier it is for you, then to support your team in distinguishing the same thing themselves. I would love for this episode to be about distinguishing this like how do you see your box and all of that. That’s the context of a coaching conversation. It’s not something I can articulate for you in an expository manner because it’s unique to your paradigm. Your paradigm or your organizational paradigm if you want, you can check out some examples of how these boxes work by reviewing some of our live coaching in our Archive on episodes.
Everyone’s box is unique unto themselves. There will be similarities and commonalities. Those similarities exist in the broader sense, too. If you are CEO, you are going to have similar experiences and problems as other CEOs but you will have your own unique flavors like Microsoft and Apple. Probably they have similar problems inside the walls of their organization but there are also going to be unique twists and spins based on their culture, leadership and all of that sort of stuff.
I can’t tell you how to create that structure. At this point, what this episode really about is the need to create that structure, what that structure should create and what’s in the way of that. That’s what we are going to be looking at. This episode will be a little bit shorter. We have done other episodes on the structure and I don’t know that I’m referencing them. The first thing we need to look at is people’s relationship to structure. People will have all kinds of relationships to structure.
To give you an example of what we were talking about when I use that word structure, I’m going to read the section about structure from the Spectrums of Being, the book that is soon to be published by me. “Our lives already contain a tremendous amount of structure. Some simple examples of structure in our daily lives include the clocks and calendars we are surrounded with. Although nature doesn’t divide time up into discrete chunks or the passing of time is to discrete days, weeks, months, and years, we do. This structure allows us to make plans with one another, create meetings and show up to them on time to produce something in a given amount of certain time and work towards meeting deadlines that we have agreed to rather than simply getting around to things when we feel like it.”
The second example, our legal system. Left to our own devices, we would, hopefully, generally try to be good to our fellow man, cooperate and be fair with each other. Without laws, there would also be a great deal more anarchy, vigilantism and rule according to our whims, rather than according to a set of laws applied equally to everyone. Our legal system structures the way we show up in our life. It provides a skeletal structure to the way we as humans operate collectively.
Lastly, the third example would be a chair. A chair supports you in a particular position. It allows you to rest parts of your body and remain upright while you conduct certain tasks. The structure of the chair makes this possible while simultaneously taking away the options that would otherwise be available. If you wish to lie down, you will need to get out of the chair. The structure of a chair does not allow for that. This doesn’t mean a chair is bad. It simply means that the structure of a chair is designed to support your sitting rather than lying down. Every human being has their own unique relationship structure as a whole.
For the more mundane examples, you may be completely unaware that these provide structures to your life. We rarely think about a chair the way I have listed here. You might relate to structure in general as a position and something that takes away your freedom. On some level, you would not be wrong about that. A chair, after all, does take away your freedom to lie down but the chair takes away this freedom and service of your commitment to something else. Being able to sit while working on whatever you are working on is the nature of the structure. It removes certain aspects of our freedom and service of our commitment to something other than leaving all our options open. Some people will say, “We have created this possibility. I want to let people go their own way,” which is totally fine but it’s going to leave people completely at the whims of how they feel and how they feel will be more comfortable to stay inside the paradigm that you were already operating in.
Whereas a structure that supports people to check-in, ask questions, sit down and plan out what feels uncomfortable and scary because it’s unknown will have them take action in service of that commitment to the other end of the spectrum. On the other end, your focus is almost entirely on structure rather than getting clear on the breakthrough, the results or the possibility you are here to create in your life and your leadership, you might be more inclined to put your attention on the structure first and foremost. You may create rules, practices and projects that are all replete with structure, which isn’t necessarily bad. When someone asks, why are you doing that? You realize that your question or your answer to that question rather is more of an afterthought.
Simply creating the structure seems like enough. There are a lot of people, especially these days, who’s very popular to create challenges for ourselves. Wim Hof came out and started doing breath-work, cold water plunges and stuff like that. Those who are quite invoked were to like, “I’m going to jump in the ocean 40 days in a row, in the ice-cold in the middle of winter,” which is cool. As much as it’s cool, you are not going to do anything, but what for? To what end are you doing that? The trouble when we put all of our attention on the structure first is anytime you create something that’s beyond the realm of what you are already doing, you are going to get some benefit from it but it’s pretty haphazard.
Maybe that’s going to create the result you want but if the result you want is you double the profits of your company, then ocean plunges every day may not be the structure to support you doing that. This is why putting all our attention on structure first and foremost is problematic and it’s fine. This is Part 4 rather than Part 3. Part 3, what are you committed to and then Part 4 is the structure you are creating in service of moving you towards that new commitment.
The purpose of the structure in general in the context of this conversation is to support you to create breakthroughs, to support you in piercing the veil of life as normal and your existing paradigm and have you practiced something that you may otherwise have resistance to? You and your people will have resistance to the unknown. Remember that impossible goals will inevitably drive up our team’s resistance and we will feel an irresistible pull towards that which is known and default. A structure is what will support you and your team to continue to move beyond the bounds of what they already know to do and likewise yourself as a leader.
Since you are shifting now from the what the possibility into the how is predictable as you start to plan this out, create structure and project plans. Sometimes, when you sit down and design a project, you have to say, “How are we going to create that?” Maybe you have to brainstorm, maybe you have to choose some ideas and go with them for a few months and see how it’s going. As you do that and start to plan this out, it’s predictable that you will see fear, resistance and a pullback towards what is known start to show up. Your job as a leader here is to stand for possibility rather than predictability. We can see all the ways this won’t work. We can see all the challenges and the service of creating this, what could support it? What would allow us to go beyond this point? What might we need to learn or do? what research might we have to do? Can we create some structure to support that and then check back in?
It’s worth noting that this pipeline we are drawing out here does not apply only to large-scale massive projects. This can also apply to something as simple as reinventing your relationships with your friends or changing the feedback loop with your direct reports or recreating some kind of marriage commitment with your partner. The importance here is creating a degree of structure that will support you in moving forward which is daily, weekly check-ins, project design, planning sessions, feedback loops, etc. Creating accountability, feedback loops, ongoing conversations about the difficult problems and iterating like demos, knowledge, research, and checking in, that applies in large-scale corporate endeavors, big projects that you are working on.
If we were to look at this in the context of marriage and we wanted to reinvent how our relationship has gone outside of the predictable default paradigm, we could walk through this pipeline the exact same way. First, we would look at it like, “I’m going to do my own work before I start pointing out on my spouse is doing wrong. I’ve got to get supported to take a look and see how I’m showing up.” That is not like going to your friend because your friend’s got your interests at heart, not the relationships.
We first take on our work like the leader doing their own work does not mean going to another CEO and complain about it. It means getting supported by a coach or a leader off the court from them. Two, we’ve got to allow the other person to air their grievances, to recreate trust, have to be willing to sit and allow you to tell me how I failed, how I have let you down, the impact I have had and clean that up. In a two-way relationship, there are often these having both sides but we are talking about leadership, which means you work first.
You are doing the work on the science that you do. Three, you want to enroll your partner, let me tell you what I want for a relationship and here’s how I want to create it. Four, “Here’s a structure I think is going to really support us to get there. I think we need to work with this kind of a teacher, we need to hire this person as a coach and we need to start seeing a counselor.” These are all examples of structure that supports you in creating that possibility you invited your partner into and so forth.
This Leadership Pipeline applies to anywhere where you have a desire to be a leader, whether it’s at work, your finances or partner, any of that stuff. The point here and all of this is less about me giving you a particular structure that supports your domain. You are the expert in that. If you are not, you might need to seek some support. You might need to get help from someone to say, “Here’s what we are trying to create and I’m a little low, what kind of structure do you think would support me in moving that forward?”
I don’t want to prescribe a whole bunch of different structures. That’s for you to take on and the structure is not designed to ensure that nothing ever goes off the rails, which is why we have the next two steps in our pipeline, committed action towards possibility and then addressing breakdowns. It’s rather that building the structure is necessary but not sufficient. Creating structure and then hoping that alone is sufficient is like bringing up scaffolding and hoping a building will get built.
The role of the structure to support you in staying the course, allows you to start to notice, “Are we moving forward? Are we moving backward? Are we stuck? Are we still? How is this going?” To keep us in alignment with what we say we are really committed to, rather than what’s more comfortable to hang out doing. At this point, you should have taken on your own work, addressed grievances, recreated trust, enrolled people in possibility and put together some structure to support you moving forward. That moves us to the next step, which is committed action towards and in service of that possibility. We’ve got two more after this and then we are complete with this particular pipeline. I hope you are enjoying this series. That’s all we’ve got for you. Take care. We will see you next time. Bye.
- The Client Creation Course
- One – Part 1 past series episode
- Enrolling people in possibility – Past episode
- Spectrums of Being
- Wim Hof
About Adam Quiney
I’m an obsessive perfectionist, high-performer, former lawyer, and now an Executive Mentor. I know what it’s like to succeed easily and quickly. To blindly put my happiness in the hands of achievement.
All the success, money and possessions in the world couldn’t cure my boredom. Couldn’t produce a loving, intimate relationship with my wife…and definitely couldn’t fulfill me.