Ego’s Trap

Attachment to the ego is the primary obstacle to our ability to lead effectively. When we assert our truth, opinions and assumptions – we are directive in a way that limits growth. Inquiry Method™ is a philosophy and a practice that cultivates the ability to set ego aside and to inquire into, ask questions, and employ natural curiosity in order to connect with deeper truths and insight. Using and growing natural curiosity about life and people will enable you to become an inspirational leader and will elevate how you live your life, how you do business, how you relate to others, and how you perceive yourself.

Great leaders are not so much attached to themselves and their success as to great ideas and inspiration. Great leaders inspire others toward a cause, not through devotion to the individual.

It is my intention that Inquiry Method revolutionize how we live our lives, how we do business, how we relate to each other, and how we see ourselves. In fact it has already begun.

Our Inquiry Management eCourse will lead you through the levels of participation, these levels parallel levels of personal development that are available to you and will be necessary for you to be able to fulfill the promise of this course. Traditionally we think of growing as accumulating things, in fact these levels actually become more available to you as you let go of things. The capacity to let go is fundamental to progression in Inquiry Method, each time we let go of something we open to new capacity and depth, we let more in.

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Identity Traps

Hey everyone! Olivia here. This is a clip from our weekly Online Coaching and Teaching Circle. Once a week we get together in sanctuary, bring current issues and questions to the group, and have the opportunity to learn from and get coached by Kyle. Kyle takes questions from the group. Colleen was generous enough to let us use the following video so that we can all learn from her questions on one of these calls. In this clip Kyle explains what he calls “identity traps” and how to move away from labeling ourselves.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION:

Kyle: What’s the thought or the judgment that you have on yourself from up here (points to head).

Colleen: It’s that I’m not smart.

Kyle: I just came up with a new term for this. I’m going to call it an “identity trap”.

Colleen: It’s an “I am” statement, “I am not smart” so therefore I want to feel smart. How do I get it into the belly and into the Source and out of the head?

Kyle: In Source it’s irrelevant. “Smart” and “not smart” is irrelevant. “Not smart” is perfect for inquiry, a sense of wonder. “Smart” is perfect for figuring things out. When the judgment is gone there is no conversation about “smart” and “not smart”. When you really take “smart” and “not smart” and disappear it there is no contemplation of that… A child doesn’t go “smart”/”not smart”.

“Hey, do you want to play in the sandbox?”

“Well, “I’m not smart”.

It’s not like that. In the pure form “smart” or “not smart” is a useless consideration.

Colleen: With continually working on myself it gets there?

Kyle: The thought “I’m not smart” is laughable. That idea you go, “That’s laughable.” Sometimes I’m smart in this moment and sometimes I’m not. What is it that I want to do? Give me a situation where you would come up with, “I’m not smart”.

Colleen: At work, if there’s somebody and we’re doing something and I don’t feel equal with them I feel “I’m not smart” and they are.

Kyle: Again, it’s irrelevant. So, you and I are working together. Who’s the leader? You or me?

Colleen: We’re equal. Neither of us are in charge. We’re equal.

Kyle: So, we are in a partnership and we are trying to come up with an idea for something and you have a great idea. And I think, “I’m not smart because you had a great idea”. No, I say, “You’re really on this, this sounds AMAZING!” I would be happy, I would say, “Run with it!”… It makes no difference who’s smart…The more you do that the more inspiration comes. We always think we are supposed to be the leader.

There is a great video of a guy at a festival and he’s kind of a kooky dancer…and somebody jumps up and starts dancing just like this guy. Then all of a sudden there is a mass movement and all these people start flocking to dance like this guy and it turns into a mob. The whole premise is the powerful person isn’t the first kooky guy that’s dancing.The powerful person is the first follower. The first follower is the one that recognized the genius in the goofy guy and started dancing like him. They were the one that catalyzed the whole thing… I could throw out ideas all day long and then all of a sudden you say, “That one is AMAZING!” And I think, “It is? Alright, I got a good one!” There is not a right or wrong position in that. Sometimes the first follower is the most important position.

Even in a business I don’t necessarily want to hire for leadership. I may want to hire for consistency… I might hire someone who you point them in a direction and they go after that thing blindly and relentlessly…When we are looking at the “we” space it’s not about who came up with the idea but about what’s needed and wanted next…If we want to do this thing at work what do we need next?…You’re looking for what’s needed in the moment…


Is there something that you want coaching on? Do you want community and connection with more people who are on this journey? Join us weekly for the Members Online Coaching & Teaching Circle. We offer two different times, so choose the time that works best for you. You can join us Thursdays at 8pm ET/5pm PT or, starting Sept 10th, you’ll be able to join us Tuesdays at 2pm ET/11am PT. Your first call is free, click here to learn more and join us this week.

Freedom From The Future

In Inquiry Method work we have often talked about and worked with letting go of the past and the liberation we experience when we learn how to do that.

We have also talked about and practiced freeing up our ego and how to lighten up on projecting and defending self-image.

We have also explored how to lose our drive and rediscover our flexibility and creativity.

I’ve been exploring a new frontier, letting go of the future.  Once I discovered it in myself I was shocked because it now seems so obvious, none of my future attachments, fears, ambitions were here now and none of the ones I have had in the past ever materialized the way I anticipated them good or bad.

Your future can be as much a trap as the past; in fact many people are more future oriented than past oriented.

For example, lets say you were interested in starting a business or growing your business; you might get attached to the future success of that business or project the future failure of that business, or both at the same time.  What does that do to your present expression and engagement, what does that do to your creativity and your objectivity…etc?

Try the same thing with meeting a new person and projecting the future of the relationship.

Take a look; what are your future attachments and how much do they take you out of the present?  See if you can discover in yourself the capacity to let go of the future.

You might say that I need the attachment to the future to be able to operate, but think about how you may have thought that same way about holding onto the past until you learned the skill of letting go. Remember how dramatically that affected your life?

 

 

Inquiry Leadership Practice: When a “Gift” isn’t a Gift

There is a useful business principal that can help clean up a lot of business issues, confusion and frustrations: Never give gifts with the expectation of getting something in return.

There is a common habit of giving people gifts or opportunities as a way of endearing those people to you or to get more out of them; to create appreciation or, in the extreme, obligation.  As leaders, we can often rationalize it as “generous”, “caring”, or even “loving”.  But, this way of motivating people or bonding people to you unfortunately often creates the opposite.

These types of gifts in business carry a hidden contract; “I have done for you, now you do for me”.  Employees will unconsciously assume that they are entitled to the “gift”.  Leaders can tell they have carried some hidden contract when they feel resentment toward employees.  This way of gifting in business will weaken great employees and amplify problems in others.

When you instead tie “gifts” to what has already been accomplished, we call them rewards.  Rewards are empowering.  Give rewards on what has happened, and don’t expect that they will get you anything more than you have already received.  Make the commitment in yourself that you will address whatever happens in the future with no inner or outer reference to what you have “given” in the past – that is water under the bridge.  This skillful application of rewards is a powerful business practice.

Keep your contracts overt and open with the people who work for you.  Business is not about appreciation, popularity, or buying good will. It’s just simple, clear understandings around performance and accountability.  The moment you feel resentment you can recognize that you have either given yourself away through some form of “gifting”, failed to create accountability, or have unclear agreements.  This is yours to clean up, not your employees.  This is what leaders do.

In every part of life “gifting” with expectations, is not gifting.  With friends and loved ones, the art of true gifting is one of the most beautiful practices we can develop and it is an art worthy of great masters.

Best Way to Ask for a Raise

In Inquiry Management, as an employee, we gain and can develop the skill of managing up.

Managing up means that through the process of inquiry up and passing problems up, we are able to develop our relationship and secure success within an organization. An example of this, I call, “the best way to ask for a raise.”

The best way to ask for a raise is: At your next review, one-on-one, or even a meeting that you arrange, ask the person who you report up to, what you would have to do to be worth X% more or X dollars more to the company 6 months from now or a year from now. And then listen carefully. Different responses are possible.

One response would be that there is nothing you can do to be worth more in 6 months or a year. That is great info to know. You’ll know there is no upward mobility and you can start accepting it and be happy with it, or you can start looking for a new job.

A second answer may be that you can get a raise if you are able to develop x skill, to learn to do spreadsheets, increase sales by x%, be able to demonstrate a certain capacity or attitude, or something else. With any of these responses, you would want to ask more and make it measurable so that it is something you could both agree on. The beauty of this system is that once they agree, you’ve already made the agreement for the raise. So you don’t have to worry about asking for it, you can just focus on doing what you need to do to get it.

If you are in a company that employs Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership then you can check in on your progress in your weekly meetings or one on ones. If you aren’t, maybe you can just check in on a monthly or weekly basis about how you are doing towards your goal and how they feel about your work. That way you keep focusing on and honoring the agreement you’ve made.

From a management point of view, I recommend doing this with the people who report to you. Make these kinds of agreements. That way, with raises, you are actually able to continue to develop and guide the development of your workforce. Make sure that you are actually incentivizing activities and goals that support and amplify the goals and success of the organization.


Want more like this? Check out our ECourse and EBook on Inquiry Management.

Boss versus Mentor

I was speaking to one of my business clients the other day (CEO of a company of about 70 people) regarding what qualities to hire for in an employee, and we came up with “the hunger to learn and grow.”

In Inquiry Leadership, we see ourselves not so much as a boss but a mentor, someone who wants to share his or her skills and knowledge. Personally, as a mentor and teacher, there is nothing I value more than someone who is hungry to learn and grow. It’s exciting to mentor that kind of person.

As a boss you just want someone to follow instructions, do what they are told.

As a mentor, you want more. You want someone who will bug you to learn more, who will come to you with questions, who will always try to perfect and refine their ability and results.

An employee who is hungry will help you grow as a leader.

As a boss you are using top-down energy; you have to keep asserting and directing.

As a mentor, you are being pushed along by the eagerness of your employees. You are sharing your skills, and they are valued, received, and put into action.

If you are getting ready to hire in your organization, find someone who is hungry and eager to learn. Test for it, ask questions to discover it, and select for it. There is no more valuable asset you can have in your business. Someday, they will have the potential to replace you so you can take yourself to the next level: they may allow you to retire and/or buy you out.

If you are not hiring right now, you should be. Always be looking for more able, eager, hungry people. They are the gold that will make for a great and thriving business.


Learn more about Inquiry Management and Leadership here

Levels of Participation

Levels of Participation is one of the principles that I discovered in my work developing Inquiry Method. In the years I have been teaching it, it has become a mainstay of what I call Inquiry Management. The Levels of Participation are a framework for understanding how people work together; they explain how people behave in relationships, the context that they participate in, and the leadership they receive. By understanding this framework we can have an impact on our own success and growth, we can influence the success and growth of our organization and we can learn to lead and be led to greater success, and ultimately satisfaction, engagement and happiness in our work.

Inquiry Method™ is the foundation on which I have built all that I have learned and discovered. I have found that it is also something that can be learned by others to have a profound impact on their ability to lead and mentor others. At the root Inquiry Method™ is simply the capacity to come to any conversation or inner challenge with openness, curiosity, and questions rather than answers. Though this may seem simple and easy, I have found that it is much more difficult that one might think. Particularly in business, but also elsewhere, we are taught to have the answers. In fact for most of our education we were given answers and required to memorize them and repeat them for tests and exams. Most of us have continued in this pattern in our professional and personal lives.

The problem is that in having the answers we stop learning and growing.

Click here for my eCourse where you will be taught the fundamentals of Levels of Participation, Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership.

Stagnant Energy, Case Study

Last week I introduced the concept of stagnant energy and how Inquiry Method can identify and release these blockages and get the energy moving again.  

The same is true not only for individuals, but also when I work with a business.  When we recognize that there is a blockage based on the markers (stress, worry, frustration, etc.), we can work to remove the obstacle. 

Recently, Jim, CEO of a manufacturing firm, wanted to understand why projects were getting delayed. No one on his management team was able to pinpoint the exact reason why.  

Through Inquiry Method, Jim realized that he had an accountability problem, and we thus scheduled a two-day renewal to work with his leadership team. By applying Inquiry Method Management tools and processeswe discovered that no one on the team viewed accountability in a healthy light. We set about redefining the term so that everyone could be aligned in a new view that was free from past associations with blame. This new view of “accountability” involved ownership (noticing things that are and are not working), creativity (applying expertise to find solutions to problems), and transparency (creating bonds of trust). 

In just this small step at the beginning of our session,there was already a noticeable surge of productivity, energy, and engagement from the team. As Inquiry Management tools and processes become familiar and utilized in the DNA of your company, you will notice the upsurge of energy and productivity followed by a smooth, efficient, and new impassioned synergy within your teams.

As a leader or manager using Inquiry Management and Inquiry Leadership, your primary job is to identify the stagnant energy in your organization and through inquiry and mentorship help to get the energy moving again.  Once mastered, this skill will prove extremely powerful to your company.

When you recognize the markers in yourself (stress, anxiety, frustration, etc.), it is a clear signal that you have some work to do. The stagnant energy will inevitably take its toll on you… both on your physical and mental health. In your company, stagnant energy will negatively effect profitability, morale, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and your ability to thrive.  The longer stagnant energy stays in your system or your company, the more damage it does.  Don’t run away from the pain; face it. Do your work, get some help, use Inquiry Method, and get the energy moving again. The breakthrough is exciting and liberating.  Being in balance and flow is joyful and nurturing.

Peace, love, and kindness,

Kyle

Inquiry Management in Business

Accountability is the single most valuable asset you can have in your business.  You can see this just by looking at the difference in performance, responsibility and commitment of an owner versus an employee.  When there is ownership, there is huge accountability. With ownership, you have to be responsible, responsive and aware because your well-being, future, and fortunes are riding on the success of the business.

The most common business complaint I hear is that employees are not accountable; they don’t have the same commitment as an owner.  It is true and will always be true.  Even when we create profit sharing plans, offer bonuses, etc. we don’t get the same kind of accountability in employees as we do with owners. This will always be true for a couple of reasons.

The primary reason is that people who want to work for others are different from people who want to create and run businesses.  Employees want more security and less accountability; entrepreneurs and business owners want freedom, they want to be accountable to only themselves and the market, they believe in their own capacity, they have something unique to express and want to do that.

It takes skill and leadership to guide someone who wants security and less responsibility toward a sense of accountability.  This leadership skill is what Inquiry Management is designed to do, to create accountability and engagement.  As leaders, we need to be able to mentor and teach our employees to trust and invest in themselves, to actively engage in their own success within the company.  This is what great leaders do, they teach and inspire people to not only do their best but to believe in themselves and their contribution.

The greatest key to a successful business is having a team that can not only work well together but also that can respond and believe in themselves like they are entrepreneurs.

As leaders, to be able to do this we must be able to recognize where each person’s level of development is and then to give them what they need to advance; the template I have created for this knowledge is what I call the Levels of Participation.

The other skill we need to be able to lead people in this way is the skill of mentoring, which I call Inquiry Management; it is both a methodology for mentoring and a framework for managing businesses.

The more accountability a leader can create the more, they become redundant because they have created a team that thinks for themselves and acts in alignment with the leaders vision.