Dominic Price, Atlassian’s resident work futurist, is owning up to “dysfunction” – and he thinks you should be too. “My definition of dysfunction is that it’s the gap between what you know and what you do,” he told a full house at the launch of Future Women Platinum+, a new 360-degree, 12-month professional training program to inspire and support Australia’s emerging female leaders in partnership with CareerCEO, at Chin-Chin in Melbourne last week.
“There’s a huge amount that we know to be true, and in the modern day with information being ubiquitous, and being shared around the world, there’s huge knowledge obesity. But our ability to apply it – and do things with it – that’s our secret source, that’s what we need to be doing.”
He added: “The first level of doing this is you yourself as a leader. Every single one of you is not only a role model, but every single one of you is a leader. Not necessary by job title, or job description, but you’re a leader of your life – you’re a sole trader of your own company. You chose your strategy, you chose your vision, you chose how you go about executing it.”
“Find the thing that you love and do more of it. It’s probably your super-power, and if you can’t pick it then you’re probably being too humble.”
Straight-talking Price says he’s adopted a simple but powerful exercise, shared by a mentor – who also happens to be a psychologist – over a large glass of red wine in New York and then reluctantly contemplated while bored on a 22-hour flight.
“It’s called the ‘Four L’s,” he explained. “I do this for myself every quarter and I look back on my leadership in the previous quarter. It could be my home life, my work life, my social life, it doesn’t matter, you choose.”
The first ‘L’ is ‘love’. “What did I love about the previous quarter? The thing that you love you should do more of because life is too short,” he said. “It’s not like, it’s love. Find the thing that you love and do more of it. It’s probably your super-power, and if you can’t pick it then you’re probably being too humble. Get over yourself, if you’re good at it then own it, it’s amazing. Find the thing you love and do more of it.”
“The next two L’s are ‘long for’ and ‘loathe’,” Price explained. “And they’re an equation. You’re not allowed to add in the thing you long for, the thing you wish you’d done, if you don’t take out the thing you loathed and that’s because you’re full.”
He’s referring to his mentor’s belief that you have to “unlearn” periodically, because “you get full cognitively and you need to find things to get rid of so you can add the new things”.
The fourth ‘L’? “What did you ‘learn’? What did you experiment with last quarter and how can you take the thing that you’d learned – for me that was normally the thing I’d failed at, because the first time you do something you’re actually crap at it – and reframe it with what did I learn and who can I go and tell that to? My peers, my mentors, the other people I coach. And when I tell them the thing I learnt, they tell me the thing they learnt. We’ve now got this peer-to-peer network of sharing.”
“You’re not allowed to add in the thing you long for, the thing you wish you’d done, if you don’t take out the thing you loathed and that’s because you’re full.”
Price says this simple exercise has “reframed” how he leads day to day, including in meetings where introverted members of staff weren’t speaking up to share “respectful dissent for the good of projects” because his confident, off-the-cuff approach wasn’t working for them.
“I didn’t hear any of the dissent, and when you don’t hear it, it’s not a problem,” he joked. “I’m just about self-aware enough to realise that I was missing out on some signals… So I set myself a challenge when I returned to Sydney to never leave a meeting knowing what I knew when I went in there. To actively listen, not listen to respond, but actively listen to what other people were saying. It required me parking my ego at the door… that was a reframe the ‘Four L’s’ exercise gave me.”
After all, Price’s driving force is as succinct and straightforward as the ‘Four L’s’: “As a leader I have to turn up and be my best self,” he said.
Dominic Price was discussing ‘The Power of Teamwork’ as part of the launch of Future Women Platinum+, a new 12-month training and engagement program in partnership with CareerCEO, recognising Australian businesses’ commitment to recruiting and retaining the very best female talent.
Our Platinum+ packages, designed for the future leaders of your business, offer a diverse and challenging year-long suite of services, providing unmatched professional development opportunities for the women in your organisation. These include; premium events, leadership training, exclusive newsletters, practical written content, inspiring podcasts and a two-day conference.
Future Women Platinum+: Let us build your high performance team while helping you retain and reward key talent. For our Platinum Plus corporate training and leadership packages, email [email protected]
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