Your Leadership: How to Free Yourself from the Cement Coat

by Servane Mouazan, CEO OGUNTE.

Having a vision and knowing how to manage knowledge to run your organisation or your personal project is an absolute necessity. It supports your strategy and your operations. It's not about collecting data and letting it sleep in filing cabinets. Data is alive and should serve your purpose. It might change too.

So you'll need to learn how to drop the cement coat and adapt to change.

But how do YOU know you can adapt to change?

Moving on... Managing knowledge about how YOU are adapting - or have personally adapted - to change, is crucial too. The more you are aware of your capacity to adapt, learn, be flexible, be lean, be insightful, the more you can help yourself and your organisation. The more you can support and find your path toward your purpose.

Strip the obstacles naked

Do you intend to grow and amplify your team? Are you thinking about your impact? Do you intend to pass the baton to someone more experienced, and maybe carve yourself a little experimental niche somewhere new…? Do you need, want, aspire to more revenue to secure your old days or invest in your side hustle? Or do you intend to keep going as usual? Whatever the scenario, change will be augmented by your capacity to strip the obstacles naked. And it might be you are the biggest obstacle to change.

If you are receiving mentoring, coaching or attend training to help you move forward-  if there’s a story of transition hanging in the air -  my suggestion would be to keep a journal where you record your thoughts and feelings in all humility. In this you will collate evidence about How you have changed this year so far - or not... What you have changed - or not, and importantly Why?

Check these tips below for the practicalities.

Am I really stuck?

The first step towards genuine change is admitting you are the one who has built the glass ceiling. (Whatever the size of the building).

When you feel that the world is telling you something, you sign off the memo, you hire the guru speakers to train your people, and then you realise you, yes YOU, are the one who is stuck. Check out this instalment of the #LeanOut series by Liam Black. It’s about middle-aged men and leadership.

Journal your transition

In this interview given to Cecilia Pompeï, I am giving practical advice on how to experiment in your transition phase while reflecting, and I mention the great importance of gaining the skills of weaving the story of your career.

Black and White Headshot of Sofia Helin - Bron/Broen/The bridge

Free yourself from the Cement Coat

In the Scandinavian series The Bridge Actress Sofia Helin plays Saga Norén, lead homicide detective in Malmö, Sweden. Saga also lives with Aspergers’ syndrome and is a survivor of a traumatic past. Interestingly, the actress says she wears a coat of stress, and rigidity, a cement coat. But when she stops acting, she becomes Sofia again, her body and soul expand. It is like a permission to be alive.

When you are consciously learning something new, especially when it relates to leadership, there needs to be an act of personal liberation, an indicator you have digested the learning and that it has found its nest within your system, before you can implement it in your setting, or roll it out with your team.

What – or who - is your cement coat? What steps does it take for you to remove it and expand whilst still contributing to make people’s world a place worth living in? This is what needs to appear in your journal.

Add 30%

A wonderful client, let's call her J, followed my recommendation to visualise her next steps and design a process to stay focused. My social prescription for her to get rid of her cement coat was not to take anything off, but to have a target number - let's call it Project J. £80,000 - and to add 30%, incrementally, along the way to her quality of life, salary, purpose, goals, every time she was moving forward.

"I know we had a couple of sessions, but you really helped me to focus on what I can do".

J got an opportunity to work for a counter-terrorism task force. So she left her job to set up her training and consultancy business.

"I can honestly say that the short focused time with you made a huge difference. I left my last employer less than 3 years ago, when I was earning £33,000 and started my own company, and have never looked back. This is amazing! I developed belief and confidence in myself, my knowledge and expertise, and now others see it."

At the time, J saw herself working in a large international institution, and she materialised her wish to become an advisor on victims of terrorism issues, doubling her annual fees. The 3 months contracts became a 2-years assignment. She exceeded her initial goal and we rebaptised the project, where I recommended her to double her financial value, but adding something magic and non-financial on top.

Sometimes a cement coat is what prevents you from moving towards a simple goal. It is what prevents others to see you. You can always set some bigger objective along the way. But start with something simple, one number, one material thing, one thing you can measure. Then work your butt off to get it, making friends and supporters along the way to share encouragements and wonder.

How are you freeing yourself from the cement coat?

Share your insights, gains, achievements, losses, and ways you've overcome obstacles, alone or with help, by dropping me a note!

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